Commons’ student lounge to return with gusto


Shun Graves

The former student lounge area by the commons on March 15, 2023. The school intends to bring back the student lounge in spring 2023.

By Cooper Tenney

Branson’s student lounge will return to the commons this spring after a three-year absence due to a need for storage space and indoor pandemic restrictions.

When learning went online in March 2020, Branson had to change its policies to allow for students to return the next school year. This included removing the commons as an eating area for the entirety of the 2020-21 school year and, over the summer, using the student lounge to store the commons’ tables.

Now, the student lounge will come back this spring and, once the furniture arrives, could be installed in early April but “will probably be done after spring break,” said Director of Operations Todd Bickel.

The Student Senate, led by Student Body Presidents Will Schuler and Eva Lacy, has initiated the project to bring back the lounge.

“Our goals this year [as presidents] were to bring back the spirit and sense of community that we had felt our freshman year, so when Ms. Livermore brought up the student lounge, we knew this was the perfect opportunity,” Lacy said.

The current senior class is the last remaining class to have had the lounge during their freshman year before school closed in 2020. The Branson student lounge used to be a big part of life on campus and it was always full of people, according to Head of School Chris Mazzola.

“During free blocks and lunch there were always people hanging out on the couch,” Lacy said. “Some people would bring in Xboxes and Wiis and would play games with their friends, and during March Madness there was always a game streaming, and people were often watching movies.”

This project required a lot more work than we initially anticipated.

— Eva Lacy

The new student lounge furniture will include a large couch, a whiteboard, armchairs, a coffee table and even stuffed-animal bulls.

Additionally, the lounge will include a wall-mounted television with a Wii gaming setup, complete with nine games.

“This project required a lot more work than we initially anticipated,” Lacy said. “It took a shockingly long time for us to pick out everything: we probably looked at over 100 green couches and chairs. We have a ton of documents and an incredibly detailed spreadsheet containing the budget and multiple options [for potential layouts].

The senate has been planning the return of the student lounge since December and ordered nearly everything by the start of February, but the process has been slightly delayed.

“The issue has been getting the couch as well as other supply chain issues,” Bickel said.

Along with Whitney Livermore, the student life dean, the Senate has been in charge of this initiative to bring back the community space.

“We really wanted students to have a say of how [the lounge] is set up and what is in there,” Mazzola said.

The new lounge will incorporate some aspects of the previous lounge, including the couch and television, and will be able to fit more people than before.

“It will be a great space to have back,” Mazzola said.