Music building construction causes parking lot frustration

April 21, 2016 — by Ami Nachiappan and Eric Sze
Photo by Vivien Zhang

Traffic tie-ups have become more common in the wake of recent construction.

Students and parents show frustration over parking lot troubles due to music building construction.

When students came back from a relaxing spring break on April 11, they found the parking lot near the McAfee Center filled with construction workers demolishing sidewalks and working behind strips of yellow caution tape.

Standing in front of the green gates, assistant principal Brian Thompson tried to control the swarm of cars entering the lot, as many students struggled to find parking spots and maneuver in the new parking layout.

“From 7:38 to 7:50 a.m., traffic becomes a huge issue heading westbound to Herriman,” Thompson said. “We’ve lost a number of parking spots that were available to staff and students [prior to construction].”

According to Thompson and principal Paul Robinson, emotions can run high when it comes to issues of parking and traffic, and the situation is unavoidable as the school embarks on a key phase of the Measure E bond. The new $12-million music building project will be located next to the McAfee. Construction is projected to be finished by the beginning of the 2017-18 school year.

Because work on the project takes up the west side of the parking lot, the side closest to the McAfee, the former entrance to the school is now an exit-only lane. The morning rush has also affected many upperclassmen, who desperately search to find parking spaces. Students have resorted to parking near the Sports Plaza or tennis courts because there are 50 fewer spots than there were before construction started.

“Entering and leaving the parking lot is so difficult because I can’t cut through the lots, and that takes so much longer than [it did] before [construction],” junior Neythra Srinivasan said. “I also have to leave home 15 minutes earlier just to get to class on time.”

The frustration to find parking has also affected those with free first and fourth periods. Because the staff lot, located adjacent to the McAfee and generally half empty, has been off limits to students, students who have purchased parking permits for $25 are sometimes unable to find parking, forcing them to head to nearby neighborhood streets.

“Even though I chose to have a free first, I feel [that] it’s the school’s responsibility to provide enough spaces for students to park,” junior Michelle Xu said.

The administration is making an effort to reinforce the policy that student parking lots are only for juniors and seniors with parking permits. According to Thompson, on the first Wednesday back from break, campus supervisors had to ticket over 60 vehicles in the student parking lots.

Though the construction has resulted in many issues in the parking lot, Robinson said the administration is doing its best to make the impact of the construction as painless as possible.

“We knew it would have to be this way for a while. The new building is such a large project that the inconvenience is also large,” Robinson said.

Thompson said that in order to create more parking for students, the school will add a student carpool section in the staff parking lot starting in May. This new option will allow students who carpool an opportunity to park in specific areas outside of student parking lots.

“We are hopeful that students will take advantage of the carpool parking option, which will open up more parking for our student body,” Thompson said.

Though the parking lot is likely to be inconvenient for the next year, Robinson is excited for the ultimate results.

“Our music program deserves a place where everyone can fit into, and other programs on campus need space for them to thrive in,” Robinson said. “I’m truly looking forward to having great music right next door to my office.”

3 views this week