Following the news since 1972

The North Star

Following the news since 1972

The North Star

Following the news since 1972

The North Star

Accessibility and Accommodations at North


North was built in 1972, a time where accessibility wasn’t put first when it came to building the school. Now in 2023, accommodations are more crucial than ever, but North’s accommodations are outdated.

It’s clear North needs a major accessibility makeover in order to properly serve its diverse population of students.

Six staircases are scattered around the school. But for students unable to use stairs, they must rely on one singular elevator and nothing else. It only fits one person in a wheelchair and is often cramped.  This causes traffic jams in the elevators as one currently isn’t enough, and there aren’t any other measures used to lessen the traffic in the elevator. Older elevators aren’t required to be rebuilt, but it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t modify them in some way to accommodate students.

Fire safety is a problem as well. There are only three evacuation chairs for students using elevators. In the case of a fire, would students in wheelchairs be able to get out as quickly and as safely as possible? In a real fire, it seems unrealistic that evac chairs would work, as the amount of people in wheelchairs and other disabilities are more than three. With students running down the stairs, how would everyone get out in time?

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Not only do students struggle with getting up and down in our multi-level building, it’s not clear if some of our bathrooms are accessible.

Bathrooms are a glaring issue that must be addressed, with only two bathrooms being upstairs, one for each gender.  When the bathrooms are full upstairs, students must use the bathrooms downstairs, which is a common occurrence. This can not only get in the way of education, but might make bathroom related problems worsen as there isn’t one readily available upstairs. Some bathrooms don’t have an accessible stall, and there are no signs outside many bathrooms at North indicating there is one inside. According to the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, there must be signs at inaccessible bathrooms that give directions to accessible bathrooms. If there is no sign present, one must be installed.

Accessibility doesn’t just include students with disabilities, but for people in all walks of life.

 There is only one gender neutral bathroom at North, compared to West, which has five to six, showing further that North needs a major accessibility makeover. The gender neutral bathroom here is not accessible to students with disabilities. Compared to West, North significantly lacks behind in inclusion. The school could easily make unisex bathrooms by renovating gendered bathrooms into unisex ones, but this still hasn’t been done.

 Furniture in the school isn’t exactly accessible either. Many desks are installed with chairs, leaving students in wheelchairs to sit on the sides of desks. 

Although North was built in 1972 and is therefore excused from many renovations, it doesn’t mean the school shouldn’t modify elevators and other parts of the building. In 2023, accommodations are required in public facilities everywhere, whether they’re ramps, elevators or accessible bathrooms. This is seen at Vel Phillips, where ramps lead up to the school entrances. 

  When it comes to accommodations, no one should be left behind.


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Dominic Centner
Dominic Centner, Chief Editor
Chief Editor Junior '25

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