Administration Takes Steps to Improve School Infrastructure in Light of Student Complaints


Gia Shin, Co-Editor-in-Chief

Have you ever wondered why your old-wing classroom feels like a sauna? Or why the Tiger Study Den feels like a tundra? Or perhaps you’re wondering why a leak in the boy’s bathroom set off the fire alarm last week, leaving students stranded in the icy rain.

One of the most frequent complaints was about the bathrooms, especially the boy’s restroom and their lack of urinal dividers. “The issue with not having dividers in the boy’s bathroom is that you can’t take the risk of using the urinals because if someone were to walk up next to you, that would be very awkward,” Matthew Isaacs (’23) said. “So every time I use the restroom in school, I have no choice but to use the stalls, which basically defeats the purpose of having urinals at all.” 

In recent weeks, as the doors of the girls’ bathrooms were coming off, many also expressed privacy concerns. “I’m working on getting the doors off the bathrooms so we can work on the behaviors that kids have been telling me about—kids hanging out in the bathrooms, eating in there,” Principal Jim Morrison said. At the Little Cabinet meetings, students had informed him that students were continuing to socialize in the bathrooms, but not in the ones with doors taken off.

“The boys’ bathrooms are going to get privacy dividers between the urinals,” Morrison added. “So those have been ordered.” He said we can expect these to arrive over the next couple of weeks.

However, one issue we cannot expect to be fixed immediately is the irregular classroom temperatures. “Walking into my history class was like treading across the equator,” Dina Shlufman (’23) said. “After, when I went into the Study Den, I felt as if I’d stepped foot into Sweden. I even had to check to make sure my hair wasn’t turning blonde.” While the original heating units have been replaced in the new wing, the old wing heaters still remain broken. The thermostats that regulate the temperature of each classroom are unfortunately not working. So when the heat is turned on, it often blasts without control. “When you open up a unit [in the new wing] and set the thermostat for 72 degrees, it [should] be 72 degrees,” Morrison said. “The problem now is that even if you set it at 72 degrees, it doesn’t care what you set it at because it’s just going to blast.” The alternative is to completely shut off the heat, which becomes a chilling problem in the wintertime. Students commented that, with the irregular classroom temperatures, there is no way to dress for the weather. “When I exit this building, I need a fur coat and warm pants,” Isaacs said. “But when I go into the building, I want to be wearing a bathing suit. Am I in a school building or am I in a volcano?”

The reason the old wing units haven’t been replaced yet is simple: it’s expensive. When one of the motors went out, it took months to order the parts because it was outdated and no longer in production. “You’re talking about 1972 equipment that nobody makes anymore. So what we do is solder stuff. You try to jury-rig it so that it will work for the next year, but it’s not a long-term solution,” Morrison said. “Long-term solution is replacing it. We’re hoping to do a referendum a year from now to have the voters vote on it, and it will include millions of dollars of improvement to physical structures. For example, the boys’ and girls’ locker rooms, I want those all completely redone.” The last referendum that was done was for the new wing, which was a success.

As for immediate issues in the bathrooms, such as empty soap dispensers, he encourages students to report them to him immediately. “If the bathroom runs out of soap, I need to be made aware of these things as soon as it happens,” he said. “As far as the structure of the bathrooms, I think the urinal dividers are an improvement,” he said. 

All hyperbole aside, students and staff look forward to improvements in the infrastructure.