Staff to take up coveted spots in front parking lot

Allie Langness, Online Editor-in-Chief

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Pulling into the parking lot after school has started to be quite possibly the hardest part of someone’s day. Walking all the way to the main doors from the back of the parking lot can take a slow walker almost five minutes. When students return from spring break, the 5 minute walk could become even longer.

The majority of teachers at the high school currently park on the east side of the building where the buses drop off and pick up students at the beginning and end of the day. Around spring break, construction will begin on the new part of the school and all of the teachers who currently park on the east side of the building will lose their spots.

Every year, the school is able to sell 700 parking passes. With 700 students driving to and from school each day the parking lot is crowded. There are not very many spots left after first hour.

Coming this spring, staff will be taking up spots that students usually park in. This has many people very frustrated. Turns out, construction will disrupt more than just classrooms. The parking lot will be affected as well.

“All of the student parking will move backwards. First we are going to build a temporary lot that will become permanent out towards 38th and Highway 5. Staff are going to park closer to the building and we are going to designate certain rows for the staff, Assistant Principal Bill Howlett said.

When construction starts, staff will be moved to the parking lot area in front of the art doors. This is a frustrating situation because it is understandable why the teachers need a new place to park but it is not understandable as to why the students are being forced to park even farther away from the school. One concern is what staff will think about having 700 students walk past their cars twice a day.

Howlett said, “I am going to sit down with staff real soon and talk with them about which rows they would prefer because as you know, all of the kids would walk in right past their cars. So, if that is something they wish to avoid, where else would they like to park?”

Students are the people who are funding the security and maintenance in the parking lot each year so why should they be forced to park in a different spot? With parking passes costing $250 per pass and them selling 700, they make $175 thousand on parking passes every year.

“The new design on the parking lot, adds more parking then we have ever had before and it even adds a whole bunch in the back for staff,” Howlett said.

Parents and students alike are becoming more and more irritated and wondering what administration is going to do to compensate for the change.

Howlett said, “I have always wanted to do a tiered parking plan. Green zone you pay $250 and you park close; yellow zone you pay $200 and red zone, further out you pay $175. Maybe we could do something like that after construction.”

Granted, the walk is not that far but if a student currently gets to school at 7:30 a.m. and has enough time to walk in and be on-time to class by 7:40 a.m. then they will probably need to be to school by 7:25 a.m. in order to be to school on-time.

The part of this that is the most frustrating is that a year-long parking pass at the high school is $250. A year-long pass in a parking lot in Saint Paul turns out to be about the same price. Students in high school shouldn’t have to pay that much money to park in the school parking lot.

It is not likely that students and parents will receive compensation for the parking situation this year. However, with enough interest generated, something might be changed for next year.