Adjustments made to accommodate large freshmen class

Sarah Frieman, News Editor

As the freshmen class reaches an estimate of just under 1,000 students, the largest it has been in decades, changes around school have started to be put into play; impacting lunchrooms, classes, staff and more.

“Enrollment has been growing incrementally over the past few years,” Assistant Superintendent Marcus Campbell said. “We have around 100 more students this year, which makes a difference when you think about it in terms of class size and lunchrooms.”

            Although the freshmen class is the largest it has been in a while, the school has accommodated a much bigger school body before. Campbell explained that in the 1960’s and 1970’s, ETHS had a school body of about 5,000 students.


            “We now have places like The Hub and South Technology Center, which before just used to be classrooms,” Campbell said. “With around 1.2 million square feet of space and three and a half miles of hallway, we have plenty of space to accommodate students.”

            This year, due to the surplus of students, it was clear the freshmen class would not be able to fit into West Cafeteria, the lunchroom used in the past. Currently freshmen eat in East Cafeteria, however, there is concern for next year’s layout with the arrival of yet another large freshmen class.

“Because the freshmen class is so big, it can sometimes be really annoying to eat in East Cafeteria,” freshman Coco Walker said. “A really long line forms within two minutes of passing period.”

            Furthermore, due to the growing student body, the school has had to hire additional staff and teachers, more of which now have to share classrooms. This increase in students has also resulted in tight class scheduling for all grade levels.

            “I’ve noticed this year all of my AP classes have been especially full,” senior Posey Cohen said. “All of the desks are taken up and the classrooms are pretty crowded.”

This year, many students, specifically upperclassmen, noticed larger classes and a greater difficulty when attempting to drop or switch courses. Campbell explained that although this is partly due to the increasing school body, the Illinois budget crisis last year is what played the major role.

“There was potential for a catastrophic scenario of having an increased student body and decrease in revenue,” Campbell said. “We did the best we could under the circumstances to budget appropriately as well as hire new staff at the same time.”

With the state budget now in a secure position, Campbell expressed that there is likelihood the tight scheduling will be less of an issue for next year.

“I hope that even with the increased number of enrollment we have, students still feel that we are a community and that we are not losing any personal touch,” Campbell said. “As a big school we need to be agile, but still be personable with our students.”