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The Student News Organization for Rutherford B. Hayes High School

The Talisman

The Student News Organization for Rutherford B. Hayes High School

The Talisman

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The+Rowland+Center+is+the+newest+addition+to+the+Hayes+building%2C+yet+maintenance+issues+have+sparked+conversations+about+overcrowding+and+resource+management.
Grace Metz
The Rowland Center is the newest addition to the Hayes building, yet maintenance issues have sparked conversations about overcrowding and resource management.

The Rowland Center, commonly known as the “new wing,” has been the subject of scrutiny from students and staff alike as a recent spree of maintenance issues sours the STEM-dominated central hub.
“Sometimes we have issues with the single stall bathrooms,” math teacher Kathy Kraus said. “People lock themselves in there because they don’t realize they’ve deadbolted themselves in there. But the issues with those bathrooms have gotten a lot better this year compared to last year.”
Kraus also reported smelling sewage from her classroom in the Rowland Center.
In 2020, administration considered renovating the Center to remove single-stall restrooms in order to solve then-prominent plumbing and disciplinary issues. These plans were never fulfilled.
Jason Sherman is the facilities director for the Delaware City School District and is in charge of the maintenance of Hayes, along with all other buildings in the district.
“Every year you get a do over, whether you’re a student or a teacher or a bus driver, so we’re constantly assessing accessibility in all of our buildings, and we’ll go through and make some adjustments after,” Sherman said. “[Renovations were] discussed probably when we adjusted some of the lock sets [on the doors], [but] there’s not a lot of space there to make it a compliant restroom. Because it needs to be ADA compliant.”
Despite the renovations never reaching completion, Sherman said that the maintenance department has investigated the most reported issues.
“[We] need to be sure that only water and chemicals go down the drains [in the science classrooms.] If you need to dump out your Starbucks, or you’re warming up lunch and you’ve got soup in a bowl, you need to do that in a sink that’s in another work room or in the kitchen or some other area of the building,” Sherman said. “Those science rooms were equipped for science, so the sink traps handle chemicals like formaldehyde and other things you would use in an experiment. You can’t put those down a regular drain, and that’s why they have those special cartridges underneath. Those cartridges need to be changed out from time to time. And that hasn’t been done for a while.”
The smell coming from the Rowland Center is most likely due to improper usage of the science room sinks.
“It might be possible that a room was built as a science room, but then suddenly there’s biology class in there instead of chemistry, so we’re dumping other stuff down there. Or there might be a health class in there or a math class,” Sherman said. “If students are pouring soda down the drain, or if you’re using it for anything other than its intended purpose, it’s not going to work.”
Although the mystery of the smell may be solved, the maintenance issues have brought a new discussion about the state of the building to light.
“We’ve got a lot of nice stuff here. But at the same time, the school is wildly overcrowded, or there’s the bathroom issues. I’m not sure if there’s a lack of resources, but it seems like there’s stuff with overcrowding since there’s so many new houses being built,” junior Alex Zahniser said. “The current [buildings] have been expanded, which is nice. But the older parts are not being maintained or upgraded that well. And again, there are no new schools, yet so many new houses are being built.”
Students and teachers have seen the effects of overcrowding as class sizes increase year after year, with administrators shifting policies to accommodate the changes.
Yet Hayes may not be the only school with these issues.
“I know students and staff members look around at all the other [new] high schools, Big Walnut and Olentangy, [but] they’re not new for very long,” Sherman said. “Those schools are almost 20 years old now too. They’re replacing roofs and dealing with leaks … You never get it right. They’re always changing it anyway, so we’re just ahead of their game.”
Despite these constant challenges, district administrators have addressed most of the prevalent issues.
“I always try to give people in our district the benefit of the doubt. I do think that everybody’s doing what they can. Whenever we reported that there was a smell, I know that they have been looking into it,” Kraus said. “It just takes time to fix problems. And if you don’t know the root of that problem, it’s hard to fix it … But I trust that they’re doing all that they can.”

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Grace Metz, Editor-In-Chief
Grace Metz (she/her) is a senior at Hayes. This is her second year on staff. She is involved with the central Ohio creative writing scene. In her free time, she enjoys reading, listening to music, volunteering in her community, and spending time with friends and family.
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