April 2016 (Volume 66, Issue 3)
Stairwells. Everyone is crammed into one confined space to get to the next class. In some stairways there not that many people, but others are the most crowded spaces in the school. For example, the stairwell to the right of the cafeteria that goes to the 700s along the south end of the school is most likely the most packed place in the whole school during passing time. Hundreds of students going up and down at the same time makes using that stairway uncomfortable, slow, and dangerous. The school needs to address this issue.
Many of us have had that experience where we thought we might be late to class because of the crowds in the stairwells. So many students in one space just makes for a logjam, so no one moves quickly up or down the stairs, especially if you have to travel a couple of floors. Furthermore, the crowded stairways are dangerous. With so many bodies in one space, the experience is not only uncomfortable, but also conducive to people being crushed or falling.
One solution would be to build the stairwells–at least the really busy ones–out, to widen them to accommodate more students. One big problem with this plan is that it might interfere with classroom space. Any easy workaround would be to have the dimensions of the new stairways stretch out into the walls of the school and not into the classrooms.
Another solution would be simply to have certain stairways dedicated as up stairways, while others were used only for going down, at least during passing time. Though it might sometimes be inconvenient to not use the closest stairway to your class, this approach would likely result in getting to that next class faster, and many students already go out of their ways to get to less busy stairways as they move from class to class.
Now we just need to find a solution to the crowded stairwells for during evacuations.