Plans for a new entrance welcomed by North students and staff

Nayera Abdessalam, News Writer

On Tuesday, May 3, INVISION architects visited North High school to meet with students and staff about plans for an entryway renovation at the school. The main priority for the renovation is to make North’s front entrance handicap accessible, more secure, and more central to a visitor’s needs, according to John Hankel, one of North’s curriculum specialists.  

“We did some great upgrades to [security] when we did our last renovation of that hallway and front entryway about four or five years ago, but I think it could still be better,” Hankel said.  

Dr. Collette Nero, Principal of North, asked Hankel to lead a team of people from North to relay information between the district, the architect company, and the high school. Nero and Hankel are the primary representatives from North who are in communication with INVISION as well as three to four people from the OPS Buildings and Grounds group.  

Architects and designers from INVISION first came to North around the end of March, Hankel said, to take a look around the school and get some initial input from students and staff. From there, they created two unique designs to propose to the North High community, according to Michelle Porter, another North curriculum specialist. 

Porter attended the May 3 meeting, as well as the initial interviews, and described the designs. One would be turning the MPC doors into the main entrance and “funneling people through the cafeteria,” or the other would be shifting the existing entrance north so it would be closer to the music wing.  

“For something to be effective in a reasonable amount of time, I think the second option,” Porter said.  

Regarding the idea involving the MPC, Porter said we would need “tons and tons of money and tons of time” to renovate it because the whole area, including the lecture hall, ACP room, and stairwell, needs to be redone.  

R’rionna Wells, 11, was selected, among a few other students, to represent the North student body’s opinions of the renovation at the May 3 meeting. She liked the brightness and openness of the new designs.  

“I really liked the lights that [the INVISION representative] picked. She had a bunch of colorful ones that were going to be rainbow, but we told her that we felt like she should do our colors,” Wells said.  

Overall, Wells didn’t have any other critiques and is “excited for it,” saying “it looks nice.” 

Hankel and Porter both said these plans will most likely come to fruition in some form.  

“Whether it’s the same as their ideas they came up with now or they go back and do some revisions on them… they wanted to have it done by 2024, which would be the 100-year anniversary of the building,” Hankel said. 

INVISION architecture is based in Iowa and does projects around the Midwest region, according to the company’s website. The INVISION representative in contact with North High staff did not immediately respond or offer comment.  

After attending the follow up meeting with the INVISION representatives, Porter shared her overall feedback on the designs.  

“The one thing I really liked about what they did is that they didn’t mess with the tradition of North high,” she said. The plans mirrored past renovations to the Haddix and the front while “keeping the tradition of brick” and bringing the school “into the 21st century,” Porter said.  

Students and staff seem to agree that renovation is necessary and something exciting for the North High community to look forward to in the near future.  

Nayera Abdessalam
Nayera Abdessalam