Students and staff brace for a year of limited parking.
STORY AND DIAGRAM BY JAMES UNDERWOOD ’23. GRAPHICS BY MEGAN MCKINNEY, ’22.
August, 2021, has been a month of change for UAHS students. Beyond the typical changes that come with a new school year—a new schedule with new teachers and new classes—students welcome a long-awaited new building. But one aspect of it all has some students less excited: parking.
While parking has long been a hot topic in the UAHS community, it holds a special importance for the 2021-22 school year due to the opening of the new building. Until the old building has been entirely destroyed and the land repurposed for parking and fields, “on-campus parking will be extremely limited,” said UAHS principal Andrew Theado in an email to students sent in late July.
That work is tentatively slated to be completed this spring. For now, students can park on the streets surrounding the high school. Available streets for parking include part or whole of Brandon Road, Brembridge Road, Chester Road, Halesworth Road, Halstead Road, Inchcliff Road, Kirkley Road, Melford Road, Mt. Holyoke Road, Northwest Boulevard, Wellesley Drive, Westford Road, Westmont Boulevard and Zollinger Road. The segment of Brandon Road adjacent to the school is available for teacher parking only.
Still, senior Olivia Howe said she thinks the parking situation is inadequate.
“I understand they redid the lots on Mt. Holyoke and Brandon,” she said. “I get it, and I’m very grateful for that. But I feel like that wasn’t enough [for] the teachers or the students.”
Senior Sam Miller shared a similar concern.
“It looks like there’s not enough spots for students, so obviously that’s not great,” he said. “I would say pretty much every person I’ve talked to—senior, junior, regardless—everyone who drives says that the parking situation isn’t great.”
Howe also suggested buses could be used to compensate for the limited parking.
“I think it’s ridiculous that we’re the only school in Columbus that doesn’t have freaking buses,” she said. “Like, get off your high horse, UA, and get some buses.”
Parking this year can also be difficult for UAHS teachers, according to UAHS math teacher Sue Stimmel.
“I think parking this year is going to be a challenge,” she said.
Still, Stimmel emphasized that the challenge is a temporary one.
“This building is beautiful, [and parking] will be taken care of at some time,” she said. “It’s going to be a temporary inconvenience.”
Likewise, Howe sees an upside.
“I get my steps in,” she said.
“I think you have to look at [that] as a silver lining,” she said.
Ultimately, Stimmel shared an optimistic perspective on the parking situation.
“We are going to have a beautiful new building that’s going to run smoothly at some point,” she said. “But it’s not going to be day one.”