Nate Echard, a senior student from Eureka, addressed Rockwood School District Board of Education directors and attendees Thursday evening, saying he wanted to share a firsthand account of the inferior condition of Eureka High School locker rooms. He said he felt it was important that people hear a student's side of Proposition S.
"The (guys) locker room is so congested, teams really have a hard time getting to practices on time. And we hit our heads on lockers. No one wants to deal with that," said the local athlete.
The substandard situations also affect students just needing to use the locker room to take physical education classes, said Echard. "Everyone's pushed to buy a lock, but can't have a locker for a whole day. So they end up having to take their stuff around with them all day (instead of having a locker to put it in)."
Eureka High School locker rooms are 40-plus years old, according to Rockwood School District records, and are in bad physical shape. To make matters worse, these locker rooms were built when the number of students was less than half of its current enrollment.
"When we travel to other schools, we see their locker rooms, and say this is something nice, if we had this," said Echard.
"It's almost essential to have better locker rooms, ones that are more up-to-date. Students deserve it, considering the small size. I’m not going to get it, because I'm a senior. But I have a younger brother and friends who would benefit from a better locker room."
Staph infections, safety code violations and lack of meeting U.S. public accommodation requirements plague the high school's locker rooms, which needed a $1.6 million renovation, per Patch's reporting last January: Eureka High Locker Rooms are High on Concern List
Last year, Tom Mueller, a Eureka High parent who lives in Wildwood, addressed the Rockwood School District Board of Education directors at the January board meeting to ask for two improvements at the school: new locker rooms and replacing the school's swimming pool.
"I'm asking for equity in facilities across the district's high schools," he said. "This also is a function of health and safety."
Mueller said he believed changes in the boys' locker room haven't occurred since 1983 when the school only had 65 usable lockers. He pointed out there are 165 students alone in the football program who have to share the locker space.
Theft is also a consideration of tight spaces of this kind, he said.
"At Eureka, we have staph infections four to five times more frequently compared to every one case at other schools," he said.
Lafayette High and Rockwood Summit High got new locker rooms, despite those rooms being 10 years younger than the Eureka ones, cited Mueller.
Editor's Note: Replacing Eureka High locker rooms to accommodate usage and meet Americans with Disabilities Act requirements is one of the stated projects listed under the proposed Proposition S, under the facilities' subcategory of $21,532,000 within the $38.4 million bond issue in April.