Sunday, November 03, 2013

Dazed and Confused.

The UCTM (Utah Council of Teachers of Mathematics) conference was this weekend, it was held in my old high school.

It was rebuilt about 15 years ago, except for the Auditorium which was opened my junior year, and the gym that was new just a couple years after I graduated.  So I spent some time wandering around the building looking at the new parts, and how they were attached to the old parts.

It came time to wander off to my first workshop (in room C303), I was down by the auditorium and passed rooms numbered in the 100’s.  I went up one flight of stairs that led to a hall with room numbers in the 200’s.  I found another flight of stairs that went further up, went up a floor and looked at the room numbers.  What the…?

The room numbers were in the 200’s also.  Questioning my sanity and whether or not I had really gone up another floor, I hurried down the stairs and checked the numbers below again.  Yup, they were 200’s.

Back up on what should have been the 300 floor, I found myself amongst the 200’s once again.  Totally confused, I headed back to the main part of the building, hoping to find someone else from my reality that could help me find room 303.

I took a corner, passed room 203, 201, passed a staircase in the center of the building and BAM, without changing floors I was right in front of room 301.  Whoa, Star Trek rip in the time-space continuum trip.

I found the room my workshop was in, sat down and looked at the back of my UCTM program at the map of the school and solved the riddle.  The school is cut into 4 zones.  The 100’s zone, 200’s zone, 300’s and 400’s.  The floors are denoted by letters, bottom floor is A, second (main) floor is B, the top two floors C and D.  This explained the C in front of my room; C303.  Third floor (C), third zone (C300’s) and the third room in that zone, hence C303.

I guess the old building having the 100’s on the first floor, 200’s on the second floor, 300’s the third floor and 400’s on the fourth was just too mundane.

Yes, we also had the 10’s, 20’s, 30’s and some other oddly numbered areas in the old school, but at least we had an excuse.  Back then East High was a hodgepodge of additions slapped on to the original building at various intervals.  We had the science wing, shop wing, gymnasium and the auditorium. 

Now, I realize the new school is one new building connected to two older ones, but these zoned cut up the new building, not just separating it from the old ones.  Maybe they had a reason for doing it this way, but it seems like it wouldn’t have been too hard to renumber the few rooms in the old buildings.  Or maybe not.


Lisa Shafer said...

The building was clearly designed by an architect who really hadn't given much thought to how it would be viewed by students and teachers. Psycho.
Ah, the auditorium. OK, the upholstery used to be mustard yellow in my day, but it's clearly the same space. I wonder whatever happened to all those weird little tunnels that used to lead from the little theatre under the main stage, underground beneath the basement halls of the main building, and into the dressing rooms in the old gym. Did they fill them in, block them up, or just leave them for storage? I recall their being lined with unused desks and filing cabinets even in my days of running around to change costumes during the school play.
Back the weirdness of the building layout, though: this makes even the layout of that rabbit warren of a mistake of a building where you taught just before your current school and the building where I teach -- with all its strange additions and oddities (no room 2, room 25 is next to room 41, room 36 can only be reached across a courtyard with no hallway access) seem pretty normal. At least those 2 buildings became that way over time and additions; they weren't designed that way at the start!

Max Sartin said...

Exactly. A lot of older buildings have weird numbering systems, like the old East High did. But, like the schools you mentioned, that's because they have add-ons and renovations, their weird numberings evolved over time. Never before have I seen it planned from the beginning.