Every high school has cramped hallways and the best lunch spots, and with the addition of the freshman class this fall those space concerns have increased. This year, for the third year in a row, the biggest freshman class joined the Durango High School student population with about 1500 students. However, it’s not the biggest class DHS has ever seen.
The school has made adjustments to the building in the past; in the early 2000’s, they added the west wing to provide more classes and space for the growing student body to thrive.
“The incoming class would have to be really big to need to expand; when we added the west wing we had about 1500 students, so it would need to be a pretty big number to consider remodeling or a new addition,” said security specialist Steven Kerchee.
The returning students at DHS have welcomed the freshman with open arms, but it’s difficult not to talk about the space issues that are arising. Of course, the freshman are not the issue. Only so many students can fit comfortably into a certain space.
“I don’t have any problems with so many underclassmen other than their walking patterns in the halls. Three or four people in a horizontal line really doesn’t work out. Plus, slow and steady does not win the race when you’re trying to get to Calc on time,” said Sr. Kylie Behn.
“Especially the freshman hall would get really crowded in the middle with many groups of people stopping abruptly in the middle of the hallway right in front of me, but it’s hard to not take up a lot of space when the class size is over 300,” said Jr. Kaitlyn Ashburn.
Perhaps it’s just the fact that many spaces in the school are undiscovered lunch spots for students. It gets cramped very easily when many of the students are in one spot.
“The library has become more crowded at lunch than it has ever been. Trying to make a poster or study in the library is very difficult because there are almost no tables left,” said Behn.
Not everyone wants to go out to lunch every day and the students may just have to make due with others in their favorite lunch spot.
The increased amount of students could either come from a larger amount of transfer students or perhaps just the growing population of Durango.
“Since we don’t really have many school options in Durango, it makes sense that the number of students would increase,” said Ashburn.
It’s possible more students are switching over from Animas High School or Liberty High School, but it’s also possible that there are just more people moving to the area, thus more students attend DHS.
“Our school carries advanced classes, sports, and a ton of super spirited students to make up a great community. That’s why DHS is growing,” said Behn.
Along with limited space comes considerable safety issues, however this doesn’t pose as big a threat as it may seem. In fact, despite the amount of students on campus, the groups are pretty evenly dispersed; not centered in one space.
“I don’t have any major concerns, but certainly if you have bigger numbers you have a bigger population, and should an event happen it just puts more people at risk,” said Kerchee.
There is no real solution we can offer for this space issue without big budget cuts to make room for an expansion, but we’re nowhere near the need for an addition to the building.
“The halls are constantly crowded, and I’m guilty of it too, but I think people need to pay less attention to their phone in that narrow area. People really need to work on moving out of the middle of the hallway if they want to have a conversation during passing period,” said Ashburn.
It may be the nature of high schoolers that affects the efficiency of the passage to class. Nobody is going to run to their next class, but there’s got to be a way to speed up the process a little bit.
“I think we should put on the announcements that every day is national speed walking day… but that probably wouldn’t help either.” said Behn.