Dining Hall Dilemma

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Dining Hall Dilemma

Work in progress on the elevator outside of the lunchroom.

Work in progress on the elevator outside of the lunchroom.

Marek Ludkiewicz

Work in progress on the elevator outside of the lunchroom.

Marek Ludkiewicz

Marek Ludkiewicz

Work in progress on the elevator outside of the lunchroom.

Morgahn Rys, Staff Writer

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Arriving on campus at the start of the school year, returning MacDuffie students were shocked to find some changes in the dining hall. The room, already overcrowded with people during lunch, now has significantly less seating and construction for an elevator right in the center of it. Many have wondered if such an addition was necessary, as the school already has an elevator located in the north wing. However, the project is only one step in a larger plan laid out by the AAB, or Architectural Access Board.  According to Head of School Steve Griffin, “We worked together to come up with a plan to make the entire building accessible for people with disabilities.” A previous change was the construction of a ramp outside the Little Theatre, and future plans include a lift from the Tunnel to the Gymnasium, and the elimination of bullnose staircases (steps with semi-circular endings.) The current project is set to be completed by December break.

The addition of the elevator has proved an issue for students, as we now have fewer seats and more bodies. Anticipating this, Head of the Upper School Chris Bielizna introduced a third lunch block. Although there is now more time for eating, the dining hall is still overcrowded. The first block is usually empty, while “E” continues to flood with people. The question remains as to whether the students have been evenly dispersed between the three periods, or if they are simply choosing to eat at an unscheduled time. Either way, prefects’ attempts to control the influx of people have done little to prevent an overflow from occurring. Another step taken to reduce the crowd was the introduction of lunch trays, which can be taken to room 111. When asked how these steps have affected their lunch time experience, senior Suzette Appiah claimed,  “The trays are useful because the dining hall is so crowded, but it’s a little inconvenient because it’s such a far walk.”

A look at the ongoing construction outside of the dining hall.

Marek Ludkiewicz
A look at the ongoing construction outside of the dining hall.

Because the school continues to grow annually, a permanent fix will be required to solve this issue.  The efforts currently in place can only succeed in providing more space if we attend only our assigned lunch blocks, and avoid loitering in the dining hall after our finished meal.

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