By Maya Hood
It is 8 a.m., and as students arrive on campus, most of whom just rolled out of bed tired, they see a flight of stairs they must go up before they get to their classroom. As the clouds drift away and the sun begins to peak out, many students begin their hike up 100 stairs with loaded backpacks and a lack of Red Bull. As students approach those final steps, their feet begin to drag, and they use the hand railing to help themselves push to the top.
Upon entering the classroom, the very first words that come out of COC statistics teacher Randy Ades’ mouth is, “Those stairs are tough.”
The COC Canyon Country Campus (CCC) is located in the hills, which makes for great views, but not-so-fun stairs for the students. The campus is broken up into quads and within each quad are centers, offices, programs, cafes and classrooms. The rooms within these quads go up to the 600s where most students have their classes.
Then there is a quad seven, called the Applied Technology Center that opened in Fall 2011 that has certified classes in water systems technology, plumbing, automotive, solar and alternative energies. It has its own spot located on the other side of campus because it is a relatively small campus, and that’s where they have the equipment for the certified classes. The walking distance from quad seven to the other quads can take roughly 10 minutes for students. “I hate that I have to walk so far,” said a student as she gets ready to walk from quad seven to quad three.
Although students don’t get the luxury of parking in front of the 700 building every day, students can park at the top depending on the day. While, teachers can park at the top, they would still be required to drive to the other quads if they need to make copies of assignments or tests for students, which can be time consuming.
“I hate the stairs. They should have a bus bring us to the top. It is very time consuming,” said Viviana Valenzuela, a student whose classroom is in the 700 building. Although Valenzuela owns a car, she gets dropped off by her father sometimes at the top, in front of the classrooms, to avoid the extra effort of having to take the stairs. She says the first flight of stairs are fine, but once you get to the second flight of stairs is when reality sets in and you start to feel the burn. “It’s like a mini workout.” Although it takes about 90 seconds to walk up the stairs, she has to pace herself when she reaches the second flight of stairs because she starts to feel herself running out of breath.
Another student said that even though she lives near the campus, she arrives at school at around 7 a.m for a class that starts at 8 a.m. because she knows she is going to have to tackle those stairs, and she wants to be able to do it without people walking behind her. It gives her the ability to take her time instead of having to rush up the stairs because you know people are behind you. “I feel like the stairs are horrible, and it is unfair that we have to go up them. They are very tiring and make me run out of breath,” said Sandra Aguilar, a student at CCC.
As the semester goes by, everyday as students go up those stairs, the stairs become a conversational piece. “I’ve been going up these stairs for months now, and they still haven’t gotten easy,” said Valenzuela. She said she and her friends gather every day to talk about the stairs as they try to come up with ideas about avoiding the stairs. “They should build an escalator,” said Aguilar.
The students going up these stairs care about good accessibility when it comes to getting to buildings, not a journey to Mt. Everest. When asked if students would like to avoid the stairs, most students answered yes. One student said he tried to avoid taking the stairs once by parking where the teachers and staff park, and although he isn’t allowed to park there, he is always tempted. If students park where they are not supposed to, they will be fined a $25 ticket.
Having to take these stairs when the weather conditions are bad is not ideal, either. On November 9th, it rained for a bit and as students were let out of class the stairs were wet and slippery. A few students going down the stairs said they almost slipped.
Even when the weather isn’t bad, the stairs can be dangerous.
“About two months ago I was going down the stairs leaving class, and because the stairs are steep, I tripped and hurt my ankle,” said Nicole Zmiga, a student at CCC. After the accident, she was able to park at the top where teachers and the staff park, and students would tell her how lucky she is. Some students even made comments jokingly about how they should sprain their ankle just so they can avoid going up those stairs.
Most students stated that since they pay a lot of money to go to school, they shouldn’t have to endure a 100-step-climb just to get to their classroom, and there should be other options for people who struggle going up the stairs. “If I knew this class was in the 700 building, I wouldn’t have never taken this class,” said Valenzuela.
CCC communications specialist Sally Chavez stated that there has not been any official complaints regarding the stairs to the 700 building, but if students have any issues, they can contact the dean, and their needs will be accommodated.