Boy’s bathrooms need design changes and increased security presence

Vacant urinals, lines of people waiting for stalls, the occasional broken soap dispenser, and the vague whiff of marijuana or cigarette smoke: these are the sights and smells that I associate with the boy’s bathrooms on campus. Why is it that the boy’s bathrooms on campus are so inefficient and havens for illegal activities?

During passing periods, break, and lunch, the bathrooms are at a maximum capacity. Boys enter a bathrooms and find a long line for the stalls… but an empty row of urinals. Why? Except for the last urinal, which is adjacent to a wall, these urinals offer little to no privacy. In the bathrooms by the E building, the school invested in Falcon water-free urinals that cost about $450 each. However, the school did not invest in dividers between these urinals. Installing dividers would put these expensive urinals to use.

The situation is similar at the L building and portable bathrooms near the F building. Most bathroom users head towards the usually occupied stalls instead of the empty urinals. This creates logistics problems. A bathroom designed to accommodate ten to twenty people at once is often used by less than five people at any given period of time, because most of the bathroom visitors would be standing in the line for the stalls.

The boy’s bathroom near the J and K buildings offers two trough urinals, which is are long urinals that up to four people can use at once. These trough urinals, reminiscent of the bathrooms in old baseball stadiums, offer even less privacy than individual urinals that have no dividers.

Bathrooms are also the traditional havens for drug and cigarette use. While it is impossible to crack down on every snippet of drug use, campus security should patrol the bathrooms and their immediate surroundings more often to prevent illegal activities. Sometimes, I walk into a bathroom so thick with cigarette or marijuana smoke that my eyes start watering. With increased security patrols, this type of event will occur less often, and result in safer and more pleasant bathroom trips for all.

In the same context, I applaud the school for closing the upper level L building boys bathrooms during lunch. According to teacher’s who patrol the L building during lunch, students are not allowed on the L building upper level during lunch unless they are going to a club meeting. By closing the upper level bathrooms, the school can prevent illegal activities in the bathrooms from happening, and help ensure a better lunchtime environment. I also commend the plans for the construction company to implement screens between the urinals in the urinals in the north boys bathrooms that will be renovated.

MHS Union

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