Work Needed: The Student Parking Lot

Parking Fees, Potholes, Funding
Student Parking Lot Entrance/Exit
Student Parking Lot Entrance/Exit

Student Parking Lot Entrance/Exit

Northside College Prep’s student parking lot can be a headache due to the potholes, unmarked parking spaces, and overcrowding. These hazardous conditions can pose safety concerns for students. Large numbers of students pay a yearly fee of $175 for a permit, yet there have been no improvements to the lot. What exactly are the fees being used for, if not the lot?

Student Perspectives

Julia Jasmer (Adv. 403)
Khang Nguyen (Adv. 409 )

Julia Jasmer (Adv. 403) describes the student parking as “… worn down… there are a lot of potholes; there’s never any space for anyone. It is overall just a mess.”

Khang Nguyen (Adv. 409) agrees; he says, “…there’s usually like either one or two parking spots, but those are very hard to get into because there are no lines in the school parking lot, so it’s so hard to park properly.”  

Moreover, Lily Meyer (Adv. 407) expresses her opinion about the need for “Clearly painted parking spots because people don’t know where to park.”

Lily Meyer (Adv. 407)

The price can be questionable for a fee of $175, considering the parking lot’s poor condition. When questioned about the fairness of the price, many students like Meyer say, “…absolutely [is] not [fair.]” 

Jasmer concurs with the concern about the fairness of the fee and questions, “ …where exactly [is] our money going? Because that is a lot of students paying for parking, yet they can’t even fix a pothole in the parking lot.”


Administration Perspective

Assistant Principal Smith

According to Assistant Principal Smith, “ I know that the parking lot needs help. The emails I’ve gotten about the parking are more like there are no spots in the lot, and I haven’t been able to get a spot because people either park without permits or… parents take the spots before or after school.”

When asked whether NCP can use the permit fees they collect to fix the parking lot, he emphasizes, “It is not enough money to cover the student, which is the smaller of the two lots.” 

He clarifies, “… the money that we collect [from student fees] goes to purchase textbooks, activity fees, athletics, field trips, and all sorts of other things. In essence, we don’t pay for the maintenance of this building.”  

CPS Approval Process and Funding Challenges

Mr. Smith says that the last time they got a quote to renovate the parking lot, it was over $200,000. Because the repavement of the student parking lot would be a large project, NCP has to acquire approval and funds from CPS. 

With large projects like the HVAC system or the parking lots, NCP must work within the parameters of CPS. The process includes the following: 

  • Acquiring three bids from three competitors (CPS-approved companies for maintenance)
  • CPS reviewing those bids.
  • Once approved by CPS, it goes through the system (Mr. Smith was unsure what exactly that is, but it goes through the system again)
  • Finally, the project can be approved. However, just because we submit it doesn’t mean it will get approved.

Since NCP is one of 400 schools requesting maintenance, Mr. Smith points out that this approval process becomes an issue of priority and whether it affects student safety. To summarize, Mr. Smith says that the parking lot can take years to renovate due to the process that CPS has in place. 

What can students do?

Mr. Smith encourages students to send him pictures and emails about the parking lot. He says, “If it’s becoming a safety concern, like if we get that information, it can help us make a case for it.” 

Essentially, by sending in photos and emails, students can help the administration speed up the approval process for the parking lot restoration. If the need for restoration is seen as urgent and impeding student safety by CPS, you can make a change for a functional student parking lot.

In Mr. Smith’s words, “If you see something, say something.”

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