Between the Lines

LHS makes the switch from assigned parking spots to open parking.


Students make the switch to new open parking rules for the new school year. Photo by Morgan Clark.

Haley Stephenson and Caroline Parry

   Everyone has heard the saying ‘first come, first serve.’ Now students at LHS are living by it – or not.

   During the summer, the school changed the system of parking from assigned spaces to open parking. 

   Many students are wondering why the parking style changed. According to administrator Jason Cahill, there were times when the student parking lot did not fill up.

   “We would walk outside and there would be 20%-50% of the parking lot that wasn’t filled.” Administrators knew that more students wanted to park at school, so it didn’t seem right that many spots would sit open when students with paid passes did not use them.

   “We added some spaces over the summer. The decision was made to oversell the parking by 8%,” Cahill said. “Right now there isn’t a problem with the lot being overfilled.

   Administration sees this as a way to make student parking more efficient.

   “The new parking is more efficient. The parking lot is more maintained and neat,” Cahill said. “We thought last year that it wasn’t being used efficiently and so far it hasn’t really been a problem for anyone.”

   Parking has been better for students because more spaces have been added this year. Due to this there continues to be several spots open during school to help students find closer parking. It can also help the students at the end of the day get out faster.

   “The school has 795 parking spots, which includes students, handicapped, visitors, teachers and administrators,” Cahill said. “We added spaces for students and there hasn’t been a problem for students to find parking spots in the morning.”

   For a parking pass at the school, students $50 paid for the whole year. Seniors also had the option of purchasing senior row parking directly in front of the school for $250. These valuable spots were on a first come first serve basis and even give seniors the option of decorating their parking spots.

   “The school sold 573 parking passes this year,” Cahill said.

   The only student grade levels that can park in the school parking lot are juniors and seniors. Sophomores who are driving have to find other options.

   Some students have resorted to paying to park at Dorsch Orthodontics, across the street from the school.

   “We have ten students who park in our lot,” office manager Elise Robinette said. “We donated five parking spots to the Blue Jay Nation and then the other five students pay $50 dollars a month. When the students park at the orthodontist parking lot they have to be identified by the passes and five signs that we have, so we know they are supposed to be there.”

   Not only has the student parking been smoother but students are getting into less trouble by trying to sneak and park at the orthodontist’s office.

   “The problem we had is that students were parking here illegally,” Robinette said. “This year the problem has gone down because now people pay to park here.”

   Some students think open parking is less beneficial and more chaotic.

   “I really dislike open parking,” junior Weston Brown said. “I like having a routine so when I get here in the morning and I constantly have to fight for a spot that’s probably different than I had yesterday, it’s not a lot of fun. Plus, I know that coming here in the next couple of months you’re going to have sophomores who get their licenses, which will take away spots from people that like to get here at 8 a.m., which is my style.”

   Despite the fact that open parking prevents assigned spots, many students still hold onto the idea of obtaining a specific parking spot that belongs to them, which creates conflict between students.

   “I liked assigned parking a lot better,” senior Grace McClintock said. “If I wasn’t in NCAPS then it would be a lot easier knowing where to go and you wouldn’t have to worry about people taking your spot.”

  Junior Tierra Morrow agreed.

  “I think that open parking is more of a hassle than administration thinks it is because people are always trying to steal spots, or getting mad because other people are taking ‘their’ spots,” Morrow said. “It’s just a big mess.”

   Brown had a literal mess because of the perception of parking space ownership.

   “A few days ago, someone thought it would be a good idea to put ketchup packets under my windshield wipers because they thought I stole their spot,” Brown said. “When I turned on my windshield wipers, ketchup smeared all
over my windshield.                                                                                  

    Students also express their concerns about administration not enforcing the rule against sophomores parking in the parking lot and taking spots from upperclassmen who paid for a parking pass.

  “Right now, I think there’s a chance that sophomores who can’t get a parking spot will be able to take other people’s spots just because they don’t have anyone to say, ‘hey, they’re in my spot, they need to leave,’” McClintock said.

  Without assigned parking spots, many feel as though it’s harder to report misuse of the parking lot to administration.

   Many sophomores who have a driver’s license feel as though the parking rules are unfair to them.

   “I kind of like it because I’m a sophomore and you can park anywhere you want,” one anonymous source said. “I’m sure the upperclassmen that actually pay for it don’t like it though. I would be angry if I paid for a pass and someone else got to park for free.”

   Students may have to rethink their parking wants versus the real-world lessons of getting the best spot the earlier you show up.