When the planned western high school has its first school play threeyears from now, women in the audience may want to give Dana F. Hannaa standing ovation.
The school building is still just a gleam in the eyes of architects Grimm and Parker, but Hanna already has earnedhis applause. Alone among the five school board members, four of them female, he advanced the cause of women in an area where equality alone is not enough.
Hanna was the first to see what was missing in the high school educational specifications that went to the school board Nov. 14 after three years of work by assorted school planners, supervisors and directors, teachers and principals and food service specialists.
The missing feature is also missing at the Morris Mechanic Theater, the Kennedy Center, Memorial Stadium, Merriweather Post Pavilion and countless other public gathering spots.
In those locations, what happensat intermissions of plays and whenever the action slows a little at baseball games? Long lines form outside the ladies' restrooms, that'swhat.
Outside men's restrooms, however, a line is as rare as a newspaper box on the front porch in historic Ellicott City.
Hanna's solution, brilliant in its simplicity: put more toilets inthe ladies'room.
Daniel L. Jett, director of high schools, who was presenting the educational specifications to the board, looked non-plussed. The 22-member committee that put together the specifications had allotted just four units apiece to the men's and ladies' rooms.
"Are there any standards that would help?" Jett asked Associate Superintendent Sydney L. Cousin. No, Cousin replied, which means that the educational specifications designers will be out there wrestling with the question of "How many?"
The committee can, however, look south for guidance. The Virginia Housing and Community Development Board has adopted a standard that requires 50 percent more toilets in women's restrooms in new buildings that contain large assembly areas such as auditoriums.
Maybe the idea will catch on.
OUR BODIES, OUR EARTH
Environmentally and socially conscious cosmetics arrived in Columbia, with last month's opening of The Body Shop.
Founded in 1976 by AnitaRoddick in Brighton, England, The Body Shop sells "naturally based" products, such as Peppermint Foot Lotion, Banana Shampoo and Rice Bran Body Scrub.
Almost overshadowing their products, however, is thecompany's commitment to various causes, like human rights, recyclingand stopping cosmetic testing on animals.
"We feel that our customers are concerned about the company behind the products," said Lisa Herling, a spokeswoman for the Body Shop.
Walk through any Body Shop and you'll quickly understand the company's philosophy.
There'sthe Endangered Species soaps, molded in the shapes of endangered animals, including the elephant, rhinoceros, giant panda and the whale.
At the check-out counter, a sign explains the Body Shop's support of recycling:
"The Body Shop as a rule does not support gift wrapping. Our company philosophy is to minimize packaging whenever feasible."
Employees at each of the 650 Body Shops worldwide, volunteer on company time to a community project or service chosen by the store staff. Service projects at other stores include working with AIDS patients and visiting nursing homes. The Columbia Body Shop will begin its service project after Christmas, Herling said.
The Columbia store is the third Body Shop to open in Maryland, and Herling says the company is pleased with the local response.
"There's a real interesting variety of customers," Herling said. "We notice a lot of young people bringing in their parents, sort of educating them on environmental issues."