Blogging Bayport Alameda

August 29, 2019

Bathroom emergency

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:09 am

I have to hand it to the parents who can get their kids to share more about their day then it was “good.”  I have started prompting my kids that response is unacceptable and that I want more information but I have to say that neither of my two kids (both Junior Jets) mentioned anything about the bathroom situation until I read about it on social media and asked them directly about it.

For those not on social media and/or without children at Encinal there is a lot of construction going on right now.  Like a lot of it.  Apparently, as part of this construction, some of the bathrooms are not functioning.  So it was someone’s bright idea to place accessible port-o-potties next to the Junior Jets portable to give the newest Encinal students a place to use the bathroom closer than wherever the closest functioning bathrooms are.

This, of course, was a mistake that anyone who has ever seen a school bathroom would have been able to tell the person making this decision.

Port-o-potties in general are usually the last option of several bad options when it comes to relieving oneself of bodily waste.  In the grand scheme of things peeing behind a tree might be preferable to a port-o-potty depending on the state of said potty.

As you can imagine when the photos of the disgusting interiors hit the internet parents were outraged.  I was incredulous about why neither of my kids mentioned anything about this.  #1 daughter has classes in other buildings so she was able to use the open bathrooms.  #2 son apparently was just holding it all day long.

They did mention that a fancy trailer type restroom was delivered the other day (right in time for Back to School tonight) but that the port-o-potties near the back of the school had not yet been replaced.  Which they probably should because there are still much less functioning, non port-o-potty, toilets available for the whole population of students.  Based on discussions with my kids, the only functioning bathrooms includes one in the gym, which is too far away to get to during passing periods, and one other, more accessible, restroom has two non functioning stall doors so the stalls with functioning locks are always occupied.

#2 son noted that the trailer restrooms were placed in the shade which defeats the purpose of a solar powered restroom.

#1 daughter resigned herself to not using the toilet while she was at school since none of the options available are optimal.



  1. So sorry to hear this. I still don’t understand why Encinal students cannot use the the old Alameda High School while construction is going on. This is what my father, a teacher and educator used to call “p__ poor planning”.

    Comment by Karen Bey — August 29, 2019 @ 6:57 am

  2. Gosh, I wonder if kids at AHS have the same problem?

    Students who love their school do not trash the bathrooms. It is illegal for a school not to have clean, functioning, and safe bathrooms for its students. Based on what you said, there are probably not adequate drinking fountains either. Could this be the situation for two years until construction is finished? Call the superintendent.

    Comment by Concerned — August 29, 2019 @ 7:45 am

  3. Bummer. Hopefully, a fix is in line shortly. I think they are called “porta potties”, however. Maybe edit before someone gets ideas for renaming EHS given its waterfront location?

    Comment by MP — August 29, 2019 @ 8:14 am

  4. Thank you for posting about this, Lauren. Here are a few updates:

    As of today, there are two trailers, each with two restrooms, at the school (one in front and one in back). In addition, there are restrooms open in every building on campus except the 200 wing (which has been gutted so that it can be completely modernized). That wing is expected to be open for the 2020-21 school year, so the modular restrooms will only be needed for one year.

    Every portable in front of the school has a drinking fountain, and other drinking fountains across campus are also available (except in the 200 wing).

    It is not unusual for porta potties to be provided for school construction projects, by the way. In fact it is the norm. However, when it became clear last week that the porta potties at EHS would not be sufficient, staff immediately began exploring alternatives. It took several days to find and order the modular units (apparently there is a shortage due to Burning Man!), but I can honestly say AUSD took steps to rectify the situation as quickly as possible.

    Comment by Susan Davis (AUSD community affairs) — August 29, 2019 @ 8:51 am

    • thanks Susan, now everybody can quit “holding it” and get back to work.

      Comment by trumpisnotmypresident — August 29, 2019 @ 9:18 am

    • Susan, that’s great that AUSD figured out the solution to an obvious problem that had to be pointed out to AUSD by severely upset parents, staff and students before AUSD took action. It may not be “unusual” for porta potties to be provided for school construction projects, but this entire situation once again puts on display the idiocy of AUSD in the complete lack of foresight in understanding their district. Do you want a pat on the back for addressing an issue that could have been avoided had AUSD given it a thought, way back when? Do better.

      Comment by Alamedacurmudgeon — August 29, 2019 @ 10:26 am

    • I understand the need for porta potties, but what the heck with lack of foresight by the construction management and leadership at the school to not have seen the original potties ordered and placed were not up to ‘district standards’?
      I certainly understand the need for ‘flexibility’ during the construction process, but foreseeable issues should be addressed beforehand, and not wait for teachers and parents to complain.
      By the way, any improvement for bicycle parking at Encinal?
      Again a foreseeable need ….

      Comment by Ron Mooney — August 29, 2019 @ 3:03 pm

      • Speculation only, I wasn’t in the room, but it is possible (and quite believable) that the district did foresee and asked the contractor. Contractor may well have said, yeah, we got ya covered, and set up porta potties as they would on a job site, thinking that was sufficient.

        There’s a non zero chance that’s how it went down….

        Comment by dave — August 29, 2019 @ 5:38 pm

        • That probably is how it went down. But the District has specific staff to make sure things get done to standard.
          The Principal put out a message, after school opened, that the restrooms were not up to standard.
          So why didn’t someone see them before school opened. Logic would only say they waited until the last minute to install, or District / Principal didn’t check them out quickly enough.
          Tired of poor planning.

          Comment by Ron Mooney — August 29, 2019 @ 7:22 pm

  5. The key thing with porta potties is maintenance. The only way the portos are useable at burning man is because they are serviced multiple times a day for 70K people. Surely AUSD can make sure that the portos are Encinal are regularly serviced so that they are usable for the hundreds of kids there.

    Comment by Angela — September 3, 2019 @ 12:07 pm

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