Lots and Lots of Lots
September 1, 2018
In 2016 alone, the Waukee Community School District reported roughly 1700 students enrolled at Waukee High School. With the city’s population growing every year, more and more students are filling up the hallways. More importantly, they are filling up the parking spots. Just this summer a whole new parking lot was added, a cost of $600,000. Yet students’ vehicles still line the streets of nearby neighborhoods. This leads to students waking up earlier and earlier just to find a spot remotely close to the school. “One day I was kind of close [to being late], I had to pick up my brother from something he had before school and it was kind of a tight window to get back and park,” explained sophomore Allen Linquist. The school controls this by issuing out Parking Permits to students.
Students that meet the qualifications on the school districts website can pay a registration fee of $25 for a pass, however, only juniors and seniors are able to purchase a permit at the start of the year. “Between 8:00am and 3:00pm, our seniors are the most mobile between APEX, School to Work, Intro to Ed, DMACC classes, and Drake. Our juniors are also in that same boat,” added Cary Justmann, the principal at Waukee High School. “Our ninth and tenth grade students, who were here all during the day, ninth grade at Prarieview and tenth grade here, their cars were never moving so they didn’t need access to them during the day.”
“We’ve tried to find what we think is the most fair way, and it really comes down to from eight to three, how many people need access to their vehicle,” stated Mr. Justmann. The school looks at the sophomores and realizes that there is the occasional doctors appointment or before school practice, but a typical sophomore doesn’t need their vehicle as much compared to the juniors and the seniors, especially with all of the courses offered outside of the high school.
Leftover passes do get handed out to sophomores, but the administration needs to determine how many parking spots are left. Until then, they’re out of luck. “Today it started to downpour right when practice was over, so I just had to run all the way from the stadium to where I parked, that was just kind of terrible,” told sophomore Brandon Kaufmann. Because many of the sophomores have to park in neighborhoods, the walk from the stadium can be anywhere from six to ten minutes away. “I get that we’re younger but at the same time we need to be able to have somewhere to park for school,” commented Linquist.
“I think it is kind of unfair, but then again we have so many kids we go to school with,” said sophomore Mitchell Kelly. The fact is Waukee High School holds more students than it does parking spots. “There’s 1150 spots… 128 more than last year, and 2100 kids. If everyone drove we’d be 1000 short, but not everyone drives,” Justmann stated.
The school is doing everything it can to ensure everyone who needs a parking spot gets one, but when a lot that is smaller than a football field cost the school more than half a million dollars, it puts the school in a tough position. Principal Justmann continued, “There’s talks right now of adding as many as 80 or 100 more next summer, but it’s such a cost to do that. Those parking lots are so expensive sometimes it isn’t worth it… you try to balance what is needed, and what is required.” Sophomores will have to wait and see just what the school can do.