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New Trier News

The student news site of New Trier High School

New Trier News

The student news site of New Trier High School

New Trier News

Battle of the campuses: A clear winner emerges

Every way New Trier’s Winnetka campus is superior to its counterpart at Northfield
(Left) just one example of the modern and open appearance of the Winnetka campus, in comparison to a particularly gloomy section of the Northfield campus on the right

Is it just me, or does New Trier’s Northfield campus look—and feel—like a prison? I of course understand wanting to take security measures to protect students, but I find it hard to believe that the only way to do that is by installing massive metal fences that enclose the entire place. Though they are meant to keep intruders out, it often gives the impression that they are locking students in. With these fences and the general layout of the campus, it all just looks very gloomy. However, it’s true that Northfield offers more outdoor spaces—that is, a courtyard enclosed by three story high brick walls.

To any current freshman—I know it seems bleak, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel: the Winnetka campus.

Besides, why would we want a school designed for the outdoors in Chicago of all places, where it is warm for maybe two or three months of the school year? Sometimes when I went outside, it felt more like a punishment.

To any current freshman—I know it seems bleak, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel: the Winnetka campus. As a sophomore, the first semester of this school year really made it apparent just how different the Winnetka and Northfield campuses are—and just how much better Winnetka is. 

In comparison to the jail, the Winnetka campus has a much more relaxed atmosphere. I feel that the skylights in the main hallway give it a very open feel, as do the modern designs in newer parts of the building. While just stepping foot on the Northfield campus would raise my blood pressure, I don’t feel that way about Winnetka.

The Winnetka campus also fosters a better student lifestyle. I am far more productive and my time is managed better here than at Northfield. One reason for this is that there are so many more places to sit and study or get homework done. This could be due to the fact that students at Northfield are forced into study halls—which I despised—and deprived of free periods, so there is no real need for seating. At Winnetka, the extensive amount of seating provides far more opportunities for productivity. I have found that I get more of my homework and studying done while at school this year compared to last, which helps free up time in the evenings. 

Another thing I dislike about Northfield is the setup of the cafeteria. The whole system is widely inefficient. In fact, I remember security guards having to conduct traffic at the entrance to the little section where all the food is. On the other hand, the layout at Winnetka makes much more sense, and there are options such as the E-building cafe if you feel that the main cafeteria is too busy. 

It is of course impossible to discuss perks of the Winnetka campus without mentioning all the new facilities. On the first day of the school year, while on a tour of the building, someone in my advisory said that the area around the E-building cafe looked like a fancy airport—I completely agree. The E part of the Winnetka campus is insanely state of the art, and there is nothing that compares to it at Northfield. I personally have two older brothers who graduated from New Trier before the E construction was finished, and they frequently tell me how lucky I am to have all that. One of them even claimed that the weight room at Winnetka is nicer than the one at his Ivy League college. That is pretty impressive. All the “best” parts of Northfield pale in comparison to this.

Furthermore, there are simply so many more opportunities at the Winnetka campus. All of the interesting clubs seem to be held at Winnetka—if a freshman wanted to join one they would need to commute, which makes it more difficult to be involved in as many activities.

I do think it important to acknowledge the positive aspects of the Northfield campus. As a freshman, it did make the transition from middle to high school a little less daunting. I also think that Northfield is easier to navigate than Winnetka. However, both of these benefits prove to be short lived. Finding classrooms at Winnetka was a bit confusing for a week or two, but is no longer an issue at all.  As for the freshman being separated from everyone else, after a few months being isolated with only people in my grade got pretty old. It also makes the freshman somewhat disconnected from the New Trier community. They don’t get as many opportunities to interact with the majority of the student body and, as mentioned above, it is harder for them to be involved in many of our clubs. Plus, I don’t think many people picture their campus when they hear “New Trier.” 

All in all, the pros of the Norfield campus simply cannot outweigh the cons. The Winnetka campus has a better vibe and appearance, promotes productivity, has a more practical layout, and has far more opportunities. As a freshman, I never truly realized what I was missing—but I can now say with certainty that Winnetka will always be New Trier’s better campus.

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