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Bursting at the Seams

East Struggles to Manage its growing popularity


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Freshman Kristian Laird speeds up the sidewalk on his bike each day, in hopes of claiming one of the last spots at the bike racks.  Meanwhile, freshman Colin Nagel hustles outside at lunchtime so he can grab a spot close to the front of the line at Three Lions Restaurant.

These are just a few examples of how East has grown in popularity in the past few years. This has benefitted the school financially and has expanded college preparedness, but the rise in interest has also presented challenges for the school as a whole.

Currently, there are 2550 students at East– including one of the biggest freshmen classes the school has ever seen. This is significantly larger than last year– having increased by about 70 students- totaling to about 650 students. Each year, the administration is in charge of randomly selecting DPS students, accepting some that are not in East district. This year, however, the administration accepted more lottery applicants that usual. One reason East accepted more students this year was to to increase the budget. “We’re definitely looking to add some dollars on the front end of the school year.” Principal Andy Mendelsberg said. East had budget shortfall last year which had put East in a negative place. “Kids won’t see a significant difference, but more chromebooks and stuff like that coming in will help supply kids with alternatives in class.” Mendelsberg says.

Due to the school’s exceeding population, teachers have been forced to share classrooms, hauling carts full of supplies from room to room. “During fourth period, I have to go [from the second floor] all the way to room 413 because that’s the only room that I can be in,” said English teacher Jason Sternberg. It has proven hard to push a cart through the overcrowded hallways, so instead, Sternberg just grabs the items he needs and carries them by hand. “Sometimes I’ll forget something… and I’ll have to send a student down [to get it,] so that’s inconvenient,” he said.

When he does use the cart, though, it is incredibly difficult to maneuver through the crowded hallways. “Trying to get through the hall with the cart is really difficult. Kids just act like they don’t see it,” said Sternberg. “It’s amazing how many kids run into the cart… Things fall off all the time.”

The issues with the hallways persist, but it doesn’t only affect teachers. Students have complained as well. “It’s dumb, it is just too crowded!” said Judah. With 2550 students at East, we have a lot of people roaming the hallways during passing period. Some people think it can be difficult to get to class on time. “The hallways are so crowded that sometimes it takes me one minute to walk twenty feet.” Trevor Hayes says.

An additional crowding issue is for those who bike to school, like Laird. Students have struggled to find spots on the bike rack– forcing some to lock their bikes to the trees or arriving to school early. “I have to get to school early.” Kristian says referring to the the bike rack.

While he acknowledges the packed hallways, lunch spots, and bike racks, Mendelsberg’s biggest concern for the future is the parking lot and the lack of spaces when they begin to drive. “We just don’t have enough parking, and that’s the biggest downside,” Mendelsberg states.

All money and district benefits aside, students and teachers have become concerned for the amount of bodies in the building, as it may cause challenges and safety issues during the school day. Legally, the building has a maximum capacity of 1800 people, which is far less than what it currently holds on a daily basis.

After experimenting with numbers and admitting more this year, Mendelsberg realizes the downfalls and doesn’t plan to increase the school’s population any more. “We’re not looking to be 2,600 or 2,700,” said Mendelsberg. “This is probably our high water mark.”

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The Student Publication of Denver East High School
Bursting at the Seams