Rowland Center bathrooms to be closed until next year

Haleigh Watkins, Staff writer

Picture of a school bathroom
Nylah Roberts
This is what the current new wing bathrooms look like. Next year, they may look entirely different.

As most students have noticed, the bathrooms in the Rowland Center, also commonly known as the ‘new wing’, have been shut down for a couple of months now. By the looks of it, that’s how they’re going to stay for the remainder of the year. 

According to Principal Ric Stranges, the Rowland Center bathrooms won’t be put back into use until the start of next year. 

“We’ve had issues with [the Rowland Center bathrooms] since they’ve opened,” Stranges said. “We’re looking at renovations to make them less individual. Until that happens, we’re going to close them.” 

There have been plumbing issues with the Rowland Center bathrooms, resulting in many classrooms in the area smelling. There have also been cases of students being walked in on due to issues with the vacant/non vacant sign on the door.

Because of these problems, remodeling the new wing has been a long time coming for the administration. The bathrooms have also enabled students to engage in activities such as vaping and other misdemeanors. 

“We designed the Rowland Center to be more modern than the rest of the school, [and] when the plans came back for the restrooms, they looked odd,” Stranges said. “In 2017, they began to look at restrooms differently. More privacy.” 

Despite the private bathrooms providing a modern touch to the Rowland Center, they will be replaced with more typical high school bathrooms by next year. Reconstruction, which starts this summer, will focus on creating multiple stall bathrooms in the Rowland Center. A boys bathroom will be on one floor and a girls bathroom on the other. 

In the meantime, however, the lack of bathrooms in the Rowland Center is causing problems. For teachers like Joanne Meyer, it’s eating into class time. 

“The bathroom breaks definitely take a lot longer for two reasons,” Meyer said. “Number one: if it’s before class, without having the bathrooms in this wing, there’s an even longer line [at the bathrooms in the 2000s wing], so then they’re late to class… A lot of them are trying to wait and go during class, but that still makes them miss more class time because of the time it takes to walk down.” 

However, missed attendances aren’t the only problem caused by the bathrooms closing. Some students, like freshman Emma Smith, are upset about the loss of privacy. 

“I don’t like [the reconstruction plans] because [I like] privacy,” Smith said. “I think it’s nice to have some bathrooms alone.” 

The Rowland Center bathrooms were entirely different from the other bathrooms in the building. For many students, the single stall layout provided a peace of mind. Replacing the new wing bathrooms with multiple stalls can be disappointing. 

“I have class in Mrs. Kraus’ room, right across from the new wing,” Smith said. “I miss like five minutes of class.” 

 When the restrooms re-open next year, the bathroom wait time will most likely be quicker and more efficient. Still, the current system just isn’t working for some people. 

“I just want to get some kind of solution, so we’re not missing a whole bunch of class,” Meyer said. “With the population of students we have in the building, we need more bathrooms. No matter what.”