In Loy Norrix High School, at the overcrowded merging point of the three main wings (A, B and C), student traffic frequently comes to a complete stop.
According to the Kalamazoo Gazette Staff’s article “Kalamazoo Central High School Historical Highlights,” Loy Norrix was founded in 1961. Its design from the 60s has remained relatively untouched, which is reflected in its “glass castle” design. The school was founded after 799 students graduated from Kalamazoo Central High School in 1960. This was the largest graduating class in Central’s history, and in response, the district built Loy Norrix to ease the crowding.
Loy Norrix was not designed to hold as many students as it does today, as Loy Norrix has gained more than 21 hundred students since the announcement of the Promise, and more than 11 hundred in the last four years, according to Kalamazoo Public School’s Reports. Loy Norrix has crowding problems, where just 5 years ago lunch periods were split up due to crowding issues in the lunchroom.
Today, a bottleneck keeps students stationary during passing time, and it’s been notorious with security guards for years. Security guards are always on the sidelines to encourage students who stop to talk with friends in the halls to continue walking.
Officer Williams, the head of Loy Norrix security, said “I encourage students to keep moving,” as he handed passes to students late for class. “Every year it’s just those three halls where traffic stops.”
Another campus safety officer, Officer McFletcher, is positioned outside the B-Wing of Loy Norrix. His route frequently requires him to help guide traffic in the bottleneck.
“It’s a bad place, where those four hallways are coming together. It’s a social hub,” said McFletcher.
A set of doors connecting the A-Wing to the B-Wing leads outside, but the doors are locked during the day because they lead outside the campus. Only during fire drills can the students traverse directly from A-Wing to B-Wing, and there are no apparent plans to build another hallway.
“The halls are packed like sardines in a can. It’s ridiculous,” said Ben Byrd, a senior at Loy Norrix who has to traverse the bottleneck twice every morning to get to his classes.
“People going to the C-Wing don’t take the other route,” said Officer McFletcher.
For those in the C-Wing, an alternative route leads from the main hallway into the C-Wing across the Senior Courtyard. However, many students prefer the main hallway due to quicker access to the A and B Wings, even though it’s a longer route to the C-Wing through the bottleneck. Officer McFletcher noticed students preferring the bottleneck in his rounds through the hall.
His final piece of advice for students needing to go from wing to wing:
“Take the alternative route. You can be social, but keep moving,” said McFletcher.