Pathways in and out of school have changed a great deal this fall. One of the more recent and noticeable changes is that the typical student entrance by the gym door is locked. Though this change has caused an immediate reaction, it was a decision made with planning and thought.
Ever since the gym doors were locked on Oct. 13, lots of the focus has been on the negative effects of this action. The doors have rerouted students’ paths and has affected how early students must leave their house in the morning.
“[The locked doors] add like 5 minutes to the time it takes to get in the building,” junior Claire Ristau said.
Students may be unaware of why the locked doors are necessary and feel frustration at another long walk from the parking lot. Many students speculate that the door is locked for construction reasons but that is only partially true.
“The gym doors are locked primarily in the interest of security,” Upper School Principal Chris Hughes said, “We want people to access the school in places where we have safety and security officers or other school employees available to watch who is coming in. That’s just basic good practice.”
The gym doors are locked in the morning, but re-open with security present for the convenience of those in after school activities at the end of the day.
Though the locked doors represent security for the school, they mean something different for students, especially for those who need to access the part of the school near the gym.
“[The locked doors] mean I have to leave for school earlier so I can go all the way over by the senior lockers to get inside, then I have to walk all the way over to the freshman lockers, then I have to walk all the way to my advisory [in the language wing],” freshman Terry Cheney said.
A security increase is one overall benefit from locking the doors, but another reason they need to be locked is that construction for the Huss Center for Performing Arts will encroach that space in the near future. “As construction continues, the new building will be linked to the existing gym hallway, which will close off that lobby area at some point, likely near the end of the year,” Hughes said.
A new entry point will be built to connect to the gym lobby but will be more accessible from both parking lots.
Even with these doors locked, administration has ensured that there are ways for student to enter the school building in the morning. In addition to the normal Summit Center doors at Davern Lobby being open, the doors by the lunch room patio have also been unlocked so that there are still two entrances when students are arriving at school.
The slight inconvenience will eventually lead to a new chapter in SPA history but for now it is hard to look past the immediate changes that were caused by the doors being locked.
“[The change] was annoying because the gym doors were where I usually went in. Now I have to walk farther to the sophomore benches, which is where I usually hang out before school,” sophomore Spencer Allen said.
The locked entry doors by the gym is just one of many ways increased security measures and the new performing arts center will change how SPA operates. It has temporarily shifted the way students enter the building and soon it will shift again to a new entrance for the Upper School with a consistent security presence.