Problematic Parking Process

Gabby Lerner, Director of Business

Driving is the key to freedom and independence for teens. Getting a driver’s license and driving to school is a privilege that many students often overlook, especially when they have a parking spot.   

Having a parking spot allows students to get to school whenever they want, as long as they are on time. However, they can easily lose their spot if they are tardy too many times.
photo by: Gabby Lerner

Once sophomores, juniors, and seniors have a car and can drive, they do not want to ride the bus or get a parent to drop them off at school. Having a license can allow students the option to wake up whenever they want if they are out the door and to school on time.   

However, the parking situation is less than ideal. Students who do not have a parking spot have to risk parking illegally and getting towed or find a different method for getting to school.   

Junior Rex Maddux, who does not have a parking spot, shared his feelings about the situation, “It’s super annoying I don’t have a spot. I know that the spaces are limited, but it is hard trying to coordinate everything because some days I have work right after school.” Maddux also voiced his concerns about when the lacrosse season starts in the spring, “I don’t know what I am going to do when that starts. It’s all super tricky with practice and work when I am not allowed to park at school.” Many students are in the same situation as Maddux as they have work and practice directly after school but nowhere to park during the day.   

Spots were distributed this year in a lottery where there was a period for students to sign up and get a lottery number. In this process, seniors got first to pick for spots, and the remaining spots were left for juniors. The lottery was a random number generator that selected a variety of numbers. After the spots were distributed, the remaining people were put on a waitlist based on when they applied for a spot. Although the waitlist is long, many students have received a parking spot as their classmates have gotten too many tardies to be eligible to have a space.   

Although there is a limited number of spaces in the parking lot, Athletic Director Ben Sutter shared that there should be more spots available towards the end of September and during mid-October. Currently, about 100 parking spots are being used by construction workers or are in the construction zone. “With weather and that kind of stuff, things could push them (construction) back a little bit. We are hoping in the next month and a half those parking spots will open back up,” explained Coach Sutter.    

The construction being done that is taking away from additional spots is to make improvements and additions to several extracurriculars and sports. Coach Sutter explained that a new outdoor classroom, outdoor space for the art department, new additions to A.V tech rooms, and new art classrooms are being built off the backside of the building. New additions coming off the backside of the aux gym include a new wrestling/tumbling room and ROTC rooms.   

Due to the limited spots and construction, many students and parents have suggested that the school try to rent out spaces from neighboring businesses or clear areas for more parking space. However, Coach Sutter and Laura Routt, who also helps manage parking, explained that there has never been a conversation about renting out spots with businesses as there are too many legal liabilities. In addition, Ms. Routt shared that the school has a green space requirement in which there must be a certain area of grass that cannot be taken out for more parking.   

However, students and teachers who park in the senior lot have problems, as well. Students and teachers have spent over fifteen minutes trying to enter and exit the parking lot. Coach Sutter explained that “They don’t have the man power to provide crossing guards to us.” Ms. Routt explained a shortage of police officers, which explains why there is not always a crossing guard directing traffic in the mornings and during dismissal.   

Biology and AP Environmental Science teacher Mrs. Mordecai expressed her frustrations about leaving the parking lot in the afternoons. She explained that she and most other teachers wait until after four o’clock to leave school as it usually takes fifteen to twenty minutes when they have to wait in line. Mrs. Mordecai also explained that many students who are new drivers struggle to take a left out of the parking lot, making the line longer.   

Junior Lily Melton, who has a parking spot, explained how she feels about having a space, “I am super happy to have my spot. If I didn’t have my spot, I would have problems making it to practice. I also think it is super annoying how long the line is, but I’m lucky that my space is close to the exit.”  

Coach Sutter and Ms. Routt have explained that they are doing their best to ensure students have a safe and legal place to park. “For me, it’s all about patience. With COVID last year and not having anybody in the building to where we are now, as far as sign ups, and the waitlist stuff, we are doing our best to try and give everybody spots,” expressed Coach Sutter. Coach Sutter then explained that there is no good system for sorting out the parking situation and hoped that parents and students would continue to be patient throughout this process.