Maneuvering the 11 Stories: Is North Atlanta Truly a Place Everyone Can Navigate?


Elizabeth Ackerman

Crowded stairwells sound like a nightmare for any person! Those with disabilities and those new to the building often struggle even more than others in these situations.

11 floors up and about 2,300 students strong, North Atlanta High School is colossal. A common sight to see is the masses of students working their way through crowds to get to classes. While this is an incredible feat to achieve for all students, those with disabilities and freshmen who are still learning the ropes of the school often struggle more than others to get around.

As many know, North Atlanta started as an IBM office building. The group tasked with converting the space from a serious office building to an inviting high school was a company called Cooper Carry Construction. When designing North Atlanta’s unique elevator system, they focused on easing building usage for those who may have trouble navigating crowded staircases. However, many students who may not need to use the elevator find themselves filling the elevator banks instead of using the stairs. As a result, it slows down the system daily for those who actually do need it. Marin Cochran, a junior, has noticed the problems occurring with people unnecessarily using the elevators during their time here. “It’s all of our responsibility to allow people who need it to use the elevators, even if that means walking a few extra floors,” they said.

All of us remember the first time we walked into the building and realized we had no clue how to even approach navigating it efficiently. As the newest addition to the school, freshmen as a group must learn to get to class without being trampled by upperclassmen. This can be pretty stressful to deal with for many who are already dealing with the anxieties that come with being new to high school. However, for many, as the months go by they feel like old pros when it comes to getting around the building. Freshman Ganiyah Rachel understands the difficulties of dealing with the mammoth of a building. “I’m still struggling to figure this building out,” she said. “It must be really hard for those with disabilities to get through the halls and elevators.”

While we all must be able to get around the building to be successful students, many find this task to be a struggle. It’s important to look out for your peers in the halls, and if you see them struggling to navigate, reflect on your own first time in the building and give them the helping hand you likely wished you had.