As the new school year began, students and staff were welcomed to a new parking lot that changed the way traffic flow in the school used to be in years past.
For over a decade, the high school had some issues with the parking lot such as an insufficient number of parking spaces available for staff and students during the year. The overall increase in parking included around 200 new parking spaces for staff, student and community use during the school day or for local events.
New renovations took place such as a newly paved section of the parking lot in late July and the process took no longer than 2 weeks to complete. New parking spaces were opened up as a result and an area was designated to staff only parking. Blocked off by bolted orange guards, only facility have access in and out of this area.
A parking gate was put up at the entrance to the staff parking lot and works much like an EZPass on the turnpike. The gate only opens up when a car that has an ID badge with a transponder. Staff and facility now have a secure parking area where they are able to have a space available when they arrive to school each morning.
The high school currently has two parking lots that are gravel because it takes about a year to allow the topsoil to set. If black top was added before the soil has time to harden, then the area will sink as a result. When the area has cured black top will be added, creating more parking.
“This year, we spent $261,000 to improve the high school parking lot by paving a very large area, excavating the hill at the stadium, making utility vehicle access more logical, replacing soft fill with clay under the newer parking area to provide a better and stronger base, and running power to the new gate system,” superintendent Tom Bratten said.
Funds to allow this and many other districtwide modernization projects to happen comes from the General Funds.
“We currently spend about 1.5 million dollars a year trying to update our schools. Keep them repaired and maintained. We have about $350,000 to do it with. We are the only school in Summit County that does not have a permanent improvement levy,” Bratten said.
To explain further, a permanent improvement levy something taxpayers pass in order for the school to have the funds to renovate and improve buildings within the district.
Another issue the high school has faced for many years is the traffic. With buses, parent dropoffs, student drivers and facility members trying to enter the school using the same entrance, this caused major traffic down the main road with drivers coming from both directions. It has been an ongoing issue in which the district is working hard to fix.
Currently, the district is testing out a new method to try to help improve the morning traffic. Parent drop-offs, staff and student drivers all enter the school through the front entrance while the buses are to drop off students in the back of the building by Joshua’s restaurant. If this method works to help improve the traffic then it will continue.
“The majority of the teachers that park in the front lot are happy with [the parking lot]. The only concern I have heard from students is the fact that you have a bit of a walk if they park in the far reaches of the parking lot,” principal Jeff Hartmann said.
Overall, the new parking lot seems to be a major improvement for many students and staff who were worried about parking space. The traffic is an ongoing issue that is currently being addressed; however, improvements are going to take a while.