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Harker Aquila

The student news site of The Harker School.

Harker Aquila

The student news site of The Harker School.

Harker Aquila

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The Toilet Bowl

A complete ranking of Harker’s student bathrooms
The average student is still left with a crucial question after they decide to venture to the loo: which restroom is the best? (Margaret Cartee, Illustration by Jessica Wang)

The raise of a hand, followed by the ask of a question. The teacher grants you permission, whether through a cheery verbal approval or a simple nod. You get up from your seat, a hopeful feeling in your stomach, and saunter out the door as your classmates remain unmoving, like statues in their seats. Now, you’re ready to relieve yourself, and you’ve acquired a couple sweet, blissful minutes away from the focused, intense classroom environment to do your business. This is the euphoric experience one calls “going to the bathroom during class.” 

Students should always try to take breaks during built-in times such as passing periods and lunch. However, as the adage goes: when you have to go, you have to go. Either way, the average student is still left with a crucial question after they decide to venture to the loo: which restroom is the best?

Thankfully, I am here to assist with that dilemma. Whether you’re a frosh completely new to the Upper School or a seasoned upperclassman looking for a different spot, this list is here to help you. Unfortunately, I can’t help readers looking for the most convenient restrooms in a certain location, as I strive to give the entire community a comprehensive list of which bathrooms should be looked for, or avoided, throughout the entire grounds. Also, I only have experience with the men’s and gender-neutral restrooms on the grounds, so this list technically isn’t complete. With that being said, here’s a full list of what I am looking for when evaluating bathrooms:

  • Cleanliness: The ideal bathroom is clean as a whistle. This is an overall judgment of lack of germs, physical aesthetics and lack of permanent damage to surfaces. While the cleaning staff at Harker work hard to keep the bathrooms tidy, students quickly soil some bathrooms, through high usage rate or other unfortunate circumstances.
  • Smell: It is hard to relieve yourself when all you can think about is the stinky air around you. In a perfect world, every bathroom is either odor-free or evokes some sort of pleasant scent. 
  • Usage: Put simply, how many people use each bathroom on average between cleans. Popularity is a major factor, as nobody likes waiting in lines, and more people usually equals more mess.
  • Supply: This is a minor detail, but it separates the good from the great in terms of restrooms. Ideally, supplies such as soap and toilet paper would be bountiful and of the highest effectiveness, but that slightly varies from place to place.
  • Privacy: Another minor category. The only factor taken into account here is whether it is a group or individual setting and the sturdiness of stalls, dividers and the like. However, privacy should not come at the sacrifice of bathroom square footage, which is reflected in the ranking.

Any bathrooms that have dual functions as locker rooms, including the pool restrooms, are not in consideration due to their increased versatility. Now that all of that exposition is out of the way, let’s dive right into the actual list, from worst to first:

Coming in last are the Main Hall group bathrooms. These are some of the most used bathrooms on campus, and it shows. They are consistently dirty in a number of ways, with students often leaving stray towels and soap on counters and stains on seats. They consistently reek of some unknown stench as well, and supplies like soap are often limited. There is also very little privacy, as it is a massive bathroom where many of the stall doors often don’t lock.

The Dobbins downstairs restrooms come in second to last on this list for one simple factor: privacy. Sure, it’s not the cleanest nor best-smelling, and supplies can run low. However, it is a decent bathroom overall, except for the massive gaps between stalls and low dividers that make relieving yourself a less private experience than desired.

Just ahead of the previously mentioned restrooms is the Manzanita individual bathroom, followed by the group ones. The cleanliness of these bathrooms is questionable. The stench is bearable, and the supplies are usually in stock. With that being said, they are generally private and aren’t used often. Overall, both of these spots are mediocre, but the one small difference between the two is the close quarters of the individual one, which reduces the overall experience.

Up next, the Nichols group and individual bathrooms tie, both decidedly average in their own right. All of the building’s restrooms are mostly clean, with good privacy and semi-frequent usage, but they each sport a major flaw: the foul odor of the individual restrooms and the consistent lack of supplies in the group ones.

The Rothschild Performing Arts Center (RPAC) restroom is another bathroom that is squarely mediocre. While the restrooms are clean and stocked with supplies, they typically have a distinct, unsettling odor, which lands them towards the middle of the list.

The obvious leader in Harker bathrooms is the hidden away Nichols Rotunda restrooms. Arguably the best part of the beautiful space, which features a pendulum and plenty of natural light, the bathrooms are clean, oftentimes pleasant-smelling, private, stocked with the best supplies the campus has to offer and almost completely ignored by students on a daily basis

Shah Hall’s only set of restrooms comes in a cut above any of the preceding options. Clean, usually odorless, with good supplies and adequate privacy, the only thing holding these bathrooms back is the fact that they are the only ones in the entire building, leading to an extremely high usage.

Here’s where it starts to get good. The Dobbins Hall upstairs restrooms serve as an interesting comparison to their subpar downstairs neighbors. They are clean with consistent supplies, do not suffer from overuse and are some of the most private group bathrooms on campus.

While the previous contender is already rarely used, the Front Desk bathrooms may be among the least-used on campus and excel in accessibility, privacy and supply quality. Specifically, these bathrooms are handicap accessible, with a push to open and close button, a massive benefit for some members of the school’s community. While they may be a little dirty or stinky at times, they are a much more reliable choice in the Main building than any other nearby bathroom, which earns them extra points.

The Athletic Center (AC) has two sets of quality bathrooms, the upstairs individuals and the downstairs group ones. All of these excel in every category, with the upstairs a little ahead in privacy, as they are the roomiest individual bathrooms on campus. However, the one issue with both of these restrooms is that they are closed to the general student population during the school day. Technically, the entirety of the AC, outside of athletic trainer Wes Howard’s treatment room, is closed during academic hours, which takes off major points. However, the quality of these restrooms is too high to ignore, which grabs them the second and third place spots respectively.

With all of that being said, the obvious leader in Harker bathrooms is the hidden away Nichols Rotunda restrooms. Arguably the best part of the beautiful space, which features a pendulum and plenty of natural light, the bathrooms are clean, oftentimes pleasant-smelling, private, stocked with the best supplies the campus has to offer and almost completely ignored by students on a daily basis. All of these elements combine to form the best set of restrooms that Harker has to offer.

With that, the list comes to a close. I hope that you have gained some new knowledge from my ranking and that you can now better your experience at school by using the best bathrooms our wonderful campus has to offer.

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About the Contributors
Gabe Sachse
Gabe Sachse, Sports Columnist
Gabe Sachse (11) is a sports columnist for Harker Aquila and the Winged Post, and this is his third year on staff. This year, Gabe wishes to write some investigative pieces and interview more members of the Harker community. In his free time, he plays for Harker's football and baseball teams and enjoys reading comic books.
Margaret Cartee
Margaret Cartee, Aquila Co-Managing Editor
Margaret Cartee 12) is a co-managing editor for Harker Aquila, and this is her fourth year on staff. This year, Margaret wants to do more illustrations and meet all the new journalists in the program. In her free time, she likes sketching on paper, playing volleyball and sitting in chairs.

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