By Lauren E Lubin
During this past summer, all Novato Unified School District schools had solar panels installed. These solar panels are intended to save money and provide cleaner energy. The panels were either placed on the side of the school or set up in the parking lots to provide shade for parked cars. At Novato High School (NHS), this setup has caused some problems for students and staff.
The parking lot at NHS had a complete make over. The spots were put into two rows and other spots were placed around the edges. Ten more parking spots were added plus the original amount that were there before the parking lot was renovated. There have been multiple complaints circling the school about the way parking spots were sold and set up.
The spots were sold to all seniors and extra spots were raffled off to juniors. This method gave all seniors the privilege of having the spots, since they could buy them. The junior parking spot forms were placed into a raffle for the eight parking spots that were left over. Chadd Alciati, a junior at Novato High School, took issue with this approach.
“I thought it was super unfair because the seniors mainly get to leave after lunch,” said Alciati. “The juniors need more parking spots because they’re here mostly the entire day.”
Currently, it is evident that there aren’t enough spots due to students parking on lined areas in the parking lot. This move is illegal and students could receive tickets for not parking in a marked parking spot. This brings up the issue of too many staff parking spots.
There are currently 55 staff members at NHS. There are currently 36 parking spots in the top parking lot, plus the 12 on the side. This is in addition to the forty parking spots in the back lot. The back parking lots are cut off to students and are staff only. The only problem is not all staff park in the back. Many staff members park in one of the three parking lots that are closer to their classrooms. The principal of NHS, Mr. Baldwin, weighed in on this issue.
“The staff park closest to where their class is and where they spend the most time,” Baldwin explained. “Some coaches are in the back of the school but they have athletics after school so they park up there [top parking lot].”
Baldwin added that there are many staff parking spots, but he would hate to give students these spots and have to take them back at a later date. This is because Baldwin hinted at a new science center being placed in the back which will take out a third of the parking spots. He believes that this compromise will ease up as the school year moves forward.
Not only are the actual parking spots a problem, but some believe the layout of the parking lot isn’t working out as well as hoped. Many students have complained about the wait to get in and out of the parking lot. Brenna Scarth, a junior at NHS, feels strongly about this situation.
“Traffic in the parking lot is the worst after school is let out,” Scarth says. “You have to get straight to your car if you want to get out quickly.”
The wait to get out is usually about 10-15 minutes. This issue stems from the students waiting to get out, which causes a traffic jam. The students aren’t constantly moving like they are in the morning. Sophomore english teacher Mrs. Wright, also has a say about this compromise.
“Getting out of the parking lot is a bit difficult because I am still learning how to exit,” Wright says. “It’s a bit different than how it used to be.”
Wright mentioned that she is unaware of which way to go to exit the parking lot, other staff and students could be having the same problem. Mr. Baldwin informed me that arrows will be painted in the parking lot along with spot numbers once the electrical installments are done. Not only will arrow's be painted, but speed bumps will be placed to slow down student drivers. The date that the painting, speed bumps, and electricity will be finished is undetermined. He also let me know that the exit near the football field will soon be spilt into both an entrance and an exit. He hopes these minor renovations will help with traffic flow.
One more issue that was brought up was the fact that the area in front of the school was made into a loading-zone only.
Grace Levy, a senior at Novato High School, claimed that this area could hold at least ten more parking spots. Transforming this area for additional parking might resolve some of the complaints about parking on the street. Many students can’t always find a spot close to school, forcing them to arrive much earlier. Depending on how far they park, it might take them an extra 15 minutes to actually get to school, which could create the issue of increased tardies.
All complaints and suggestions have been heard and Mr. Baldwin has recognized the apparent issues with the parking lot. It won’t be possible for the parking lot to, again, be renovated. Yet, many of the issues are being worked on to be resolved. All painting and last minute touch ups should be finished soon.