Bathroom Renovations Create an Unusual Situation for one Acalanes Teacher

By Tom Bequette, Staff Writer

// For many students and staff, using the Acalanes bathrooms is the last thing on their mind as they go about their day. But for Abigail Smith, Acalanes’ Introduction to Engineering and Design teacher, the bathrooms were at the forefront of her mind, as toilets were stored in her classroom in order to carry out the renovations.

   Over the summer Acalanes renovated the boys and girls bathrooms in the 400 wing by adding new toilets and toilet paper dispensers to replace the old and worn down ones.

   “That decision was made at our district level, with a gameplan of updating all bathroom’s on our campus over the next five years,” Associate Principal Andrea Powers said.

   Acalanes is the third out of four schools in the district to have their bathrooms renovated and next summer will lead to even more bathroom revamping.

   “The plan was that they would renovate the worst bathroom this summer, and then next summer they’ll come back and tackle the second-worst bathroom,” Powers explained. “That will just continue to happen until all the bathrooms on campus are renovated.”

   The changes were not just made to improve the look of the campus, but are also intended to be a lasting renovation for years to come.

   “They are bringing in the new dispensers because the kids use them a lot and the new ones are sturdier and will last longer,” Custodian, Francisco Lopez said.

  Another major issue that this initiative appears to counter within the district, is high school bathroom cleanliness. According to CNN, over one-third of high school bathrooms in the nation are dirty, unhealthy or unsafe.

   The changes did not come without their challenges though as Smith’s classroom had to be used as a place to store the toilets during the renovation due to a lack of space in the bathrooms themselves.

   “They were remodeling the boys bathroom, so they had to bring the toilets into my room for a while,” Smith recounted. “They brought them in during the summer, and they were removed sometime in August before school started.”

   While some teachers would be opposed to having toilets in their classroom, Smith saw the toilets as a teaching opportunity. 

   “I have an Intro to Engineering Design class and the toilet is a very interesting mechanism, so if they stayed in here, I could have taught how a toilet works,” Smith explained.

   Although the bathroom renovations might appear insignificant, students do not take the change for granted.

   “Little changes to the campus definitely have a bigger impact on us then most people realize,” sophomore Aidan Shvo said. “We spend like six hours a day here, so things like improving the bathrooms actually have a pretty positive impact on us.”

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