By Christine Baker, TSB Staff
Senior parking spot at McKinney High School painted? Check. Running to school late and only being on time because your spot is so close? Check. Throwing a fit whenever your spot starts to chip? Check.
Being told that you can’t park in your spot anymore because construction needs that space?
Totally not checked.
McKinney High School is planning to get a makeover during the next two years. The front of the building will be torn down and used as an extension on the building. More classroom space will be created. A possible fine arts wing will be built. And hopefully the journalism classes will all be in the same area where the library is now. Also, the front of the school will be recreated so that students coming from the parking lot to the school do not have to walk across oncoming cars that are dropping off other students.
However, for all of these dreams to become a reality, the construction workers will need a place for the dirt and supplies and that just so happens to be in the left portion of the parking lot. Those seniors that are parked in those front spots will no longer be able to park there and must find an alternative space. You can only begin to image the reactions when those seniors were told the news.
“I feel like this situation is extremely unfair on many levels,” MHS student Megan Noonan said. “When they told me about taking our spots away I wasn’t thrilled, and I also found it quite ironic because they did the same thing to my older sister back in 2008 when they were getting rid of the gravel parking lot and she had her spot taken away too.”
It seems that a high school student’s senior year has always been portaged as a magical year when everything is perfect for that class. In reality, it’s not. But the process is fun and part of the tradition. If you missed my earlier Teen Talk column on the craziness of the process, click here to read it.
But although the current situation is upsetting to those students getting their spots taken away, things could be much worse. When you do the math, those students are only losing a total of $12.50 from the amount they paid at the beginning of the year.
MHS Principal Stewart Herrington was asked about the reaction of some seniors.
“I would never say that anyone was overreacting to the situation,” Herrington said. “We had a variety of reactions from the seniors and even though some were disappointed others were not as upset.”
Because they are losing their spots, many seniors are demanding complete reimbursement.
“I think the school should reimburse all of us by giving half of our money back,” Megan said, “seeing as we only got to use it for half the year, but I know that won’t happen.”
Again, not all seniors are having their spaces taken away.
“When I found out I wasn’t getting my spot taken I felt relief,” student Alexys Barsy said. ”But I think the school should pay them back at least half of the money that they were charged, so $25.”
“I think they should reimburse the seniors some of the money,” student Summer Moya said. “We paid $50 for a parking permit, $50 for the senior spot, and then I paid at least $100 on paint, so that’s $200 I spent on the spot and I didn’t even get to use it for a full year.”
As of now, there is not a set solution to compensate for having to take away the spots, but the administration is working with the students and trying to be as understanding as possible.
“I really want to work to try and take care of everyone, so that they all have a place to park,” Herrington said. “If we had known at the beginning of the year that this was going to happen we would have never made the spots available. I was informed about the situation about 2-3 weeks ago and we are still unsure of which exact spots will be taken.”
Administrators have agreed to listen to seniors’ solutions to the issue. Although nothing has been set in stone some solutions include:
1. Giving seniors another reserved spot. It would be the next closest in the row just a little further back. Seniors will be allowed to paint the spot.
2. Mark off a section of the parking specifically for the students that had to give up their spots.
3. Giving students a portion of the money that they paid for the spot.
Those are just a few proposed solutions that I know of, but others are being proposed as well and, within a week or so, an official decision will be made. In the meantime, students debate the pros and cons of the situation.
“I have senior release first period, so I’ll go to my usual spot,” Megan said. “But instead of parking up close I will have to find another spot. But all the other students are already parked and in school, so I’ll be far back.”
“One good thing is that those students won’t have to pay for paint to paint over their spot at the end of the year,” Alexys said.
“The only pro I see to losing my spot to construction is that I do not have to paint it at the end of the year,” Summer said. “Everything else is a con because I spent a lot of money and time on something that the school is taking away and I think it’s unfair.”
Seniors pay $100 for the reserved spot and students pay $50 for a normal parking pass, but where does all that money go? It all goes to the traditions committee at MHS. The committee was created years ago when North and Boyd were being built and many MHS students and alumni wanted to ensure that the traditions at our school were saved.
The committee sponsors the Distinguished Lions pep rally and ceremony and also helps out with senior scholarships at the end of the year and for project graduation, so if students want their money back they will have to pull it out of the traditions committee funds and since it is near the end of the year the likelihood of all that money being available is very slim.
“I think over the next two years as we renovate, there is always going to be an inconvenience due to construction,” Herrington said. “But the ending project will be exciting and instead of hearing negative things about how our school doesn’t ‘compare’ to other campuses, we will be able to hear many positives.”
The renovations projects are said to be finished in December of 2013 or early January of 2014.