Why do the Counseling Office doors open the wrong way?


Photo by Caroline Frisiras

A student is pictured entering the counseling office. The doors must open outward due to safety regulations.

By Caroline Frisiras, Staff Writer

     The new wings of the school were built with state-of-the-art, innovative designs. And counseling office doors that swing the wrong way.

     While most people are accustomed to the classic push-or-pull-door, they don’t typically put thought into which direction a door swings. Why would they? Most Tigard students felt the same way. They couldn’t fathom why anybody would care about if a door is a push, or pull, to open. And then, it hit them. Literally.

     With the newly constructed counseling office, this door danger has unfortunately been the case for quite a few students. Located in one of the tightest and busiest hallways in the school, these windowless doors could cause some serious damage to the backpacks and heads of Tigard’s student body.

     Plenty of classroom doors at Tigard push-out rather than opening in, just like the counseling door do. It’s not a rare occurrence; in fact, it’s for the safety of Tigard’s student body. Fire codes and building regulations require that in spaces with only one exit, the doors must push outwards to make for a safer and more efficient evacuation in emergency situations.

     Principal Brian Bailey explained that, while the doors are not ideal, they are not necessarily permanent in the new school. In the future, Tigard is looking to make some changes to help make the doors safer for the staff and students alike, including potentially adding windows so that staff and students can have a clearer view of their surroundings before swinging the doors open.

     “There are codes that architects have to meet based on occupancy and number of exits,” Bailey explained. “My job is to balance aesthetics with the functionality.”

     Until those changes are made, however, students should be extra conscientious about their surroundings in the hallways, especially with outward swinging doors in crowded spots. Junior Abdirahim Mohamoud has been impacted by the counseling office doors several times — literally.

     “I feel like the people opening the door are not thinking about the power in their hands when they open the door,” Mohamoud said. “Everyone needs to be conscious about their spatial awareness.”

     Secretary Lynette Biglow says that while the doors don’t inconvenience the day-to-day lives of the counseling staff, it is an adjustment for students and others who are not as acclimated to using the doors.

     “[The counseling office staff] are the ones who are used to using the door–it is in a bit of a precarious spot,” Biglow said. “It’s really up to the people in here to make sure that they open it slowly.”

     If you or a loved one has been, or is, hit with the doors in the counseling office (or any other part of the school for that matter) resulting in injury, please contact Tigard administration so they can take the appropriate actions to ensure the safety and wellbeing of Tigard’s student body.