(COVINGTON, La.) — Parking at St. Paul’s School has turned into quite an issue during the 2015-2016 school year for students, staff, and local residents due to the large volume of students and their vehicles and the number of spots that have been cannibalized by the new gym construction.
“Parking lately has been difficult,” junior John Birdsong said. “Every morning is a battle to get a spot.”
The general consensus among student drivers is that the amount of drivers at St. Paul’s has exceeded the amount of parking spots available on campus, resulting in some students disobeying parking laws or arriving to school late.
St. Paul’s community residents have even complained of students parking on their property, said Dean of Students Ken Sears, causing the school to establish a new parking violation policy. The first penalty issued at St. Paul’s for a parking violation is a warning, which is then followed by $50 fine and a detention.
“I feel like the parking situation is definitely not where it should be,” junior Nick Ashton, who is also a community resident, said. “I live decently close to school, and some mornings, it feels like it would be more convenient to walk, especially since I drive a truck.”
The number of trucks on campus has been a part of the issue, because of the size of trucks and bigger cars that require a larger space to park.
“I’ve had to park on the street multiple times,” Birdsong said. “Parking is especially tight when you have truck.’’
Sears says that the problem can be eased by students making compromises about their morning rides to school.
“If you have a neighbor who attends St. Paul’s,” Sears said, “ride to school with him or try to get here earlier.”
Many students agree that Sears’ suggestions would eliminate some of the problem. Yet another concern of students is the traffic that is created after dismissal. The Covington Police Department has gotten involved in the past to enforce traffic laws.
“Traffic is usually my main problem after school,” junior Cade Icamina said. “I hate how long it takes for me to get home after a long day.”
“It’s just really tight around campus with the construction right now,” Sears said. “Parking is usually a struggle to begin with, because we’re in a residential neighborhood, but now it’s even worse due to the construction of the new gym.”
Fortunately, multiple lots are soon to be built, according to Sears, but no official timeline has been announced. In the meantime, all students may be able to do is stay patient, arrive early daily, or explore alternate transportation to and from campus.