Saturday, September 06, 2008

Thoughts on Urban Planning-Lockers?

At the age of five, when I began my taxpayer-funded public schooling, my kindergarten teacher assigned me a square plastic bucket with my name on it where I could keep my thermos of juice, crayons, glue and scissors and pieces of glittery paper for my mom. In grade school, I hung my coat on a hook at the back of class, put my lunch on a shelf, kept my books in my personal desk. In high school I had a locker in the hall and in one the gym, though some days I kept my clothes in the car.

Now, however, I'm spending $20,000 of my own hard-earned (or hopefully to-be-earned) cash per semester at one of the top universities in the country. Parking is both scarce and prohibitively expensive, and the lunch halls are crowded. On any given day I ride a well-attended public bus and walk across campus on foot with my lunch, purse, laptop computer, textbooks, scripts and a gym bag. And now there is no storage of any kind. I feel like a homeless camel, and in classes I pick up my camel hooves to avoid stepping on other students bags that are too stuffed to fit under chairs.

I asked about this and was advised to "make friends with someone who lives nearby" and see I could put things there.

This is not uncommon situation. At FSU, because I was teaching in the English Department, I had an office, but many were not so fortunate. Interestingly, the film school there, which is housed at the stadium, did have lockers for each of its students, but I don't know if the film school administration actually thought of this, or inherited them from the athletic department.

Who plans these things? Perhaps it's simply people who have offices and desks and drawers where they can put their lunch. Or perhaps it's people who are so passionate about "higher order" concerns that practical considerations get bypassed. That's how we get opera houses that seat hundreds, but only have five bathroom stalls.

According to the website, our new cinema arts complex being built will be stunning and will alleviate the space issues we now face, such as minimal office space for adjunct professors and a shortage of classrooms. The main structure alone will cost over 75 million dollars to build and another 25 million to furnish. It will house post-production suites, classrooms, screening rooms, conference facilities, and administrative offices as well as a 200-seat theater, an exhibition hall and a café.

In the face of all this, it seems petty to ask…but will students have lockers?


  1. I love this post! David and I live about a mile from school now, a good 35 min walk, maybe a 10-15 min bike ride - so we are trying not to drive every day (although, this has proven difficult for David, who has to wear business clothes) On days where I want to ski or stay on campus all day - there is no where to stash my extra stuff like lunch, skis, books, etc. I even looked around to see if we could rent one!

    Anyhow, I feel your pain - my only advice is to get Paul to take a job there, so he has an office to stash your stuff - Hey, it worked for me!

  2. Even with an office at FSU, if I want to go to the gym, I must take all of my stuff to the gym because everyone knows not to leave their laptop in their office. I think students just have to be okay with hauling shit everywhere. I know, it's a real pain!