ISSUE 3: Construction Updates: Q&A With Principal Bhoolai

The new RHS is well on its way to reality.


The front entrance to Robinson High school, now barred by chain link fence and flanked with construction equipment.

Whittaley Bowden and Samuel Elliott

Since the end of the first semester, students have been traveling to and from classes under a bustling deconstruction operation, eating lunch with the creaks of heavy machinery in the distance, and sharing the fenced-off walkways with construction crew and contractors as they file into their newly-built temporary classrooms, or “portables”. This comes with the promise of a completely new campus for Robinson High School, set to arrive in roughly 14 months.

To learn more about how things are going so far, and what things might look like in the future, Knight Writers caught up with Principal Robert Bhoolai on-campus last week, amidst wires hanging overhead and a blue fence enclosing an area of deconstructed concrete.


Knight Writers: So since construction has been going on, how might students’ and staffs’ schedules look in the next school year?

Bhoolai: We’re actually in the process of scheduling courses for next year this week. I would not anticipate too many changes to your schedules, and things should look pretty similar to this year.

KW: And how is it going with the city, concerning the move in student parking to Rembrandt Drive?

B: So we’re going to close the road– the city actually voted to close Rembrandt, and the district is in the process of obtaining gates in order to close the road itself.

KW: Have there been any setbacks, or unexpected difficulties so far, in the process of construction?

B: There certainly have been unexpected difficulties… there are water lines that run across campus which need to be worked on in order to take the building down, and they realized that it can’t be done while we’re at school, so we’re getting creative on figuring out how to do that. Also, some materials, such as the gate which students enter, were back ordered due to COVID-related delays. It looks like we’re on schedule so far. Planning, demolition and materials have all been on schedule so far.

KW: Students’ parking had a major overhaul this year. Could you talk a bit about that, and how that might carry on into next year?

B: Absolutely. The temporary parking lot that students park in now was meant to give students more ability to park, as it’s a very large lot, as well as to relieve the congestion from student parking and parent drop-off/pick-up. By having the two separate, things are going much better. We have new dedicated crosswalks, and now that students aren’t passing by where parents are driving, the pedestrian danger element has gone down by a lot.

KW: I know you said that COVID stopped the student gate from being fixed, what else has COVID delayed in construction?

B: Great question. Generally, I think COVID has impacted all industries, construction probably the hardest– because when you don’t have trucks on the road delivering materials, you can’t build things. The construction company we’re working with, Ajax Construction, they do a great job of ordering things very early in the process, to ensure they get there on time. I think the technology is where I’ve noticed most of the delays because those are specialized parts that aren’t being produced at the same volume that they’ve been produced before, but I haven’t noticed anything in the materials we’re ordering.

KW: Just to cap things off, what’s the feature you’re most excited about with the new school?

B: Personally, I’m most excited about the new culinary space. It will be a full-fledged culinary restaurant, which will give us the opportunity to serve the community and cater to most of our extracurricular activities. Our prior culinary kitchen worked, but it was very small. This is going to be state-of-the-art and will function just like a restaurant. I think we’ll have the best culinary space in the county when this is finished.