When you walk around Olathe West High School, something makes it feel like it isn’t really a high school. It could be the incredible, campus-like design, or the large screens on the wall that display what room the students are having class in that day. But the one thing that might pop out to people is the fact that there are not lockers in any of the halls of the school. To some kids this might be strange, but for a lot of kids, this wouldn’t bother them because they don’t think twice about their locker.
Olathe West principal Jay Novacek said that he was part of a group that decided not to put lockers in the school. In place of lockers, they have over 40 conference rooms used as collaboration spaces for students and teachers.
“All of our students have Macbooks,” Novacek said. “More and more learning is being done electronically. Very few students in the other Olathe high schools used their lockers. It was becoming wasted space and I think they like have the conference rooms more than not having lockers.”
Blue Valley Northwest is going to get rid of some of their lockers this summer. Principal Amy Murphy said that they found that there are only 27 percent of their current 9-11 graders using their lockers.
“The students like the idea of having some more open larger spaces, those that want lockers will still have that opportunity to have a locker,” Murphy said. “We have kept the students, teachers and parents involved in the process all along the way. I think once everyone realized that only 27 percent of the students are using their lockers, they liked the idea of using this space for something other than a place for lockers that people aren’t using.”
Principal David Tappan says he would consider getting rid of lockers if it created more space, depending on how it looked aesthetically, depending on what it was replaced with.
“I think it’s something that the building could consider,” Tappan said. “What I’ve noticed over my couple years at Shawnee Mission North is not many students use their lockers at all. So I don’t think it would have a very big impact.”
Tappan said he knows that some schools decorate their lockers for things like basketball season or football season.
“In my two years, North hasn’t done that, so I don’t think kids feel attached to their lockers, like some other schools or like kids used to,” Tappan said. “I think we would look at a lot of motivational type of posters or drawings (to put where the lockers were), maybe work with our best art students and see if they can use that canvas to create some really awesome North looking artwork.”