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WHS Needs a Covered Walkway Between the Buildings

Kaitlyn Miner, Student Contributor

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Just imagine this for a minute – a bitter, cold rain-snow like mixture falling from the sky during the month of February as the students of Westerly High School are crossing between buildings during a typical school day. Now I do not know about you, but this situation is one that I face all too often throughout the course of the school year. Although dressing appropriately in terms of rain boots and a rain jacket is the right way to go, it’s quite clear that in addition to relying on those boots and jackets to protect students from the weather, Westerly High School should add a covered walkway along the bridge entrance walkway and the Vose Street entrance walkway. Adding a covered walkway between Ward and Babcock will help ease student frustration when the weather is far from perfect all throughout the school year.

Throughout my years at Westerly High, I have encountered many types of weather and always make a point to check my weather app on my iPhone every morning. In doing this, I am always thinking about what I can do to keep myself from getting wet when it happens to be raining or snowing. As soon as the bell rings for the students to move to the next period each student waits to see what the weather is and if it will hold off until they finally reach the next building. By constructing a covered walkway along the two walkways between Babcock and Ward keep, the district will protect students from heavy downpours and heavy snow.

The first example of why this idea will be beneficial is since the pavement is covered the risk of black ice will decrease because there will be less moisture on the ground. This will also aid in fewer students and faculty slipping, falling and possibly injuring themselves on the ice while walking the required distance between the buildings. In addition to having a reduced risk for slipping on the dangerous ice, the covering will possibly lower the danger of school members becoming injured, whether minor or major, and possibly filing a lawsuit against the school for negligence. This cover could help to protect the school from potential liability.

Although Westerly High School has cement walkways, some students cross through the snow covered quad during the winter months. This is essentially an inadequate decision because “Walking that same path over and over throughout the winter can really take a toll on your lawn. Come spring, you’ll notice that it’s the last area to green up, and might even struggle to thrive all season. Traversing on snow-covered grass causes compaction, which can damage the grass” (Spring Green). By having the crossing walkway covered it may lead students to want to be under the covering, staying dry from the prescription, instead of crossing though the quad.

The final possible positive outcome to the covered walkway is the fact that students and faculty will essentially have dryer clothes because of cover over their heads. Sitting in wet clothes for a good majority of the school day is clearly not comfortable, and the covering will help keep students dry as well. Dry clothes and mostly dry shoes, although keeping warmth in, may reduce the amount of water and dirt tracked in from the outdoors. Granted that water and dirt will always appear in the hallways and classrooms, having the mostly dry pavement from the covering will also reduce the risk of students and faculty slipping in the buildings.

The idea of a covered walkway between Ward and Babcock provides many positive outcomes, yet I understand that there may be negative feelings towards this thought. Building and installing a walkways of these sizes may become quite expensive, and require maintenance year round. These custom built steel canopies will most likely cost a lot of money, and some might feel the money could go to other issues. Some students and faculty may also feel that is addition will not be aesthetically pleasing to those visiting the school. The big steel pipes and bland covering would give the school a “bad look” and make the school ugly, as this is a possibility. No matter the size, shape, or price of the canopy some may have a negative reaction to the idea of a covered walkway to protect from rain, snow, or any type of weather.

Westerly High School should add a cover over both crossing walkways because of the unpredictable weather in the winter especially. This addition will provide a safe way to cross between classes with a new level of protection. There are many positive outcomes to this idea and will only benefit each individual student and all of the faculty. Between the safety factors that are connected and the protection of the quad this idea practically seals the deal amongst students and faculty. It may not be the most alluring piece of construction but if those at Westerly High are able to cross remaining dry, it is undeniably a thought that is to be considered.

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WHS Needs a Covered Walkway Between the Buildings