Walk down any hallway in the new Germantown High School in Madison, Miss., and one thing stands out: You won’t spot a single locker.
Lockers have served as a symbol of the American high school for decades, but with new technology–eBooks, interactive assignments, and web-based learning–they’re gradually becoming a thing of the past.
It’s unclear how many schools have gone lockerless, but New York architect Peter Lippman, who serves on the American Institute of Architects’ Committee on Architecture for Education, said the trend is growing.
“If you are talking about new technology–electronic textbooks, iPads, and things like that–maybe there is no need for a locker,” he said. “I’m not sure every school is there yet, but it does provide some opportunities.”
School officials that have made the jump to lockerless cite several benefits: less noise, fewer tardies, and an increased sense of safety.
“It’s all to create an environment that’s student friendly,” said Ronnie McGehee, interim superintendent of the Madison County, Miss., School District.
It also can cut hundreds of thousands in construction costs. Madison County saved $200,000 by not including lockers in the new high school, McGehee said.
In addition to new schools that are built without lockers, some districts are removing them from older buildings.