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ACEN Stairwells a Treacherous Place for All  
Kaitie Kemper
Staff Writer

Using the stairways in the new Academic Center is comparable to the “stampede in the gorge” scene from “The Lion King”:  one misstep, and there is a good chance you will get trampled. The stairways are too narrow to accommodate the mass amounts of students that flock up and down them between classes.

Students, faculty and others who navigate the Academic Center also have to face the daunting task of allowing people to merge into and exit out of the human traffic pattern on all three floors of the building. While dealing with the mazelike atmosphere found in and around the stairwells, the doorways that lead to and from the chaotic herd of people pose the exact same problem as the stairs themselves:   they are too narrow for people walking in opposite directions to glide through without running into one another. Not only the width of the entrance and exit doors themselves cause difficulties, but when the stairwell doors are being pushed open during the rushes before and after classes, maneuvering around the entrance ways themselves can be quite tricky.    

Wasn’t this building supposed to be more accommodating for students in comparison to the Administration Building, which used to house the majority of the classes now found in the Academic Center? Sure, the new building has positive aspects such as the modern classrooms, the café area, heating and air conditioning, and an elevator that injured students or those with physical challenges may use to get to their classes on their respective floors. However, if the Academic Center can boast of having an elevator to help specific students, faculty and visitors move more conveniently about the building, why is it that the rest of the population has to trudge up the crammed staircases?

Speaking from experience, it is not an ideal situation to be stuck for prolonged periods of time in the middle of a flight of stairs, surrounded on all sides, waiting for people to find a way to cut through the crowd. Not only is there a high probability of claustrophobia, but this also presents a safety hazard if there was to be a fire or anything of that nature. Plain and simple, it is just  not safe.

After taking the liberty to ask numerous students and listening to various conversations that have taken place while navigating the stairways, there seems to be a consensus:  The stairwells are flat out inconvenient. “The stairwells are way too small, and the doors cause so much chaos with people going in and out on each floor,” said senior Ali Schlotfeldt. 

Other students share similar opinions. “The doorways are too narrow,” said senior Erick Mentock.

Junior David Lloyd said : “I don’t like the doors and the hustle and bustle.”

Junior Ryan Roebuck said: “They are poorly designed. I don’t know what could make them better, though.”

That is the question that many people in the Manchester University community are trying to figure out:  how do we rectify this potentially hazardous and currently inconvenient situation? Only time will tell, but for now all we can do is brave the horde of people jam-packed in the stairways, and slowly journey to our destinations.


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