Northtown: The New Normal

Joe Mormino, Writer

As the construction of the new buildings and renovations began 2 years ago, Northtown underwent massive amounts of change as the first shovel dug into the ground. Gone were numerous buildings, including the Business and Technology building, the historic Fieldhouse, the Student Service Center and virtually all of Old Main as it was being renovated. As more ground began to be broken, new buildings came into existence and more buildings were gone.

Coming in was a new Fieldhouse, new “A” and “B” wings of classrooms along with a new cafeteria, a new Performing Arts Center, and a renovated and updated Old Main which honors the past while looking forward to the future. This ultimately doomed the continued existence of Norclay and the school’s then-procedures and protocols.

With the long construction process finished, Northtown is now operating as a closed campus for the first time in decades. However, with a closed campus comes new rules: open lunch is now nonexistent, opening any doors besides the main entrance brings an automatic suspension, there are now 5 lunch shifts, and passing time between classes has been cut by a minute. This may be a great thing from a safety and operations perspective, but how do students and teachers feel about the new changes?

“I think, overall, it’ll be for the better,” teacher Branden Stilwell said.

Approving the new system, Stilwell mentions how it was before.

“It’s going to be so much safer because before literally anyone could walk in during a passing period, because there’s no way that we could track all 1,600 people moving at once, like who’s coming in and who isn’t?” Stilwell said.

“Oh, [the administrators] changed [the culture], because I was like, ‘[open lunch] made Northtown what it is, so maybe it wouldn’t come here to begin with’,” said an unknown student. “I get it, we’re not every other school and every other school doesn’t have it, so why can’t we? I mean, it made us Northtown. We’ve had it since the very beginning, so why change it now and why change it at the very middle of the year?”

“I think [it changes our culture] a little bit, because maybe people have to change the way they eat their food because maybe it was more accessible for them to buy it [through open lunch] rather than make it at their own home or buy it from the cafeteria,” said another unknown student.

The new policies are thought of by at least one staff member to be necessary and sufficient for the future safety and operations of Northtown and its students. Despite this positive outlook, students believe that the school’s culture and atmosphere will take a negative hit in response to the new policies.

“I think [the new rules] are the reason that we don’t embody the culture anymore, because part of Northtown’s culture was the freedom and open campus,” said a third unknown student. “Everybody was very open and had their freedom, and I feel like it felt like a more trusting relationship between the superiors and the students here, just because it gave students a chance to be more independent.”

The sophomores grew up 1 year with Norclay. The juniors grew up 1 year with an unrenovated Old Main and an old historic Fieldhouse. The seniors grew up 2 years with them. Now the freshmen, along with everyone else, will progress through their high school careers in a new campus, one to make memories in, and with bittersweet and fond memories of the past. Many aspects of the Northtown experience may be gone due to the new procedures, but there is also the likelihood of new aspects taking their place, making Northtown an even stronger, social, and diverse environment. As much as people may love it or hate it, this is our school. This is still our Northtown, our timeless Hornet’s Nest. And this is our new normal.