Parking Lot Woes

Adrian Maddox, Reporter

As another school year slips through our fingers and students become more comfortable with the school’s campus, the parking lot gets dirtier and dirtier. Though there are police who watch the parking lot for most of the day, we are still facing issues ranging from littering to actual damage to our cars. There’s no effective security system nor perceived accountability for the actions of the students in the parking lot, and it causes the area to be rather hectic.

Every day at 4:05 all 1500 students rush to get out of the building, most of them heading out for the student lot upstairs. Mix the hundreds of high school students with the dinner the food court serves, and you get a whole ton of trash. Though there are trash cans stationed near the entrance of the school and throughout the parking lot, trash is constantly collecting and being run over by impatient students rushing to get home. We can’t completely blame our dinner time trash for the garbage that continues to eat up the parking spaces, after all, all lunch shifts have open campus lunch. Though there is usually a trash bin a few parking spots away from where I park daily, I’ve come out every day to the same wet and flattened Sonic bag. It’s just a bit out of hand.

Rachel Godbey, senior, comments on the litter throughout the parking area. Godbey comments on her displeasure of the grime that continues to multiply in the area. Godbey says, “We as students pay $50 for a parking pass but don’t get assigned parking and are forced to drive around in a litter filled lot that not only has used condoms, old food wrappers, and cigarette ends, but also has old food that is starting to mold.”

However, the growth of litter and trash that collects in the upper lot is only a reflection on the respect and treatment directly from the students themselves. Rather than throwing away food in the garbage can, which is conveniently three feet away, it’s easy for students to open their door and leave their styrofoam cup on the ground. Instead of littering by leaving unwanted items outside of their car doors, students should simply keep their trash inside their car or wait until they can rid of any unwanted garbage in the trash bins located around the lot.

Aside from the cleanliness of the lot, there’s a lack of accountability or security in case something were to happen. One corner of the parking lot outside of the A wing by the greenhouse is covered by three cameras, but there’s only four additional cameras for the rest of the parking lot. Each of the cameras are spaced throughout the exterior of the school facing towards the parking lot, however there is not a single camera in the actual parking lot. This poses the questions: are the cameras high enough quality to get a proper view of a license plate or identify someone’s face, and can it see between cars well enough to even tell if someone’s car was damaged?

Jacob Sirna, an assistant principal, explains the ability to view and identify people in situations when it’s necessary. Sirna explains, “We do not have zoom in capability on those cameras, so faces we can recognize sometimes, just because we can recognize the people, but as far as the ability to see the license plate, not really, not unless it’s something that’s very clear. Closer to the building, the further away you get, the more grainy it is.”

On the positive side, there is usually a police or security person who drives around the parking lot to ensure nothing suspicious is happening. I’m glad we at least have somebody who is carefully watching to prevent anything bad from happening. I think it’s necessary to have these security people around to keep the lot safe, but I believe that people should be more honest with their actions and own up to damage. For students who are worried about their car getting damaged, parking further away, or not as close to other students could prove to being helpful if doordings are continuing to be an issue.

Laura Kauffman, junior, described her concern with the parking lot security after having the side of her car scratched while being parked in the school’s parking lot. Kauffman voiced her concern with her inability to figure out who scratched her car. Though she never took the actions to find out who scratched her car, Kauffman explained, “I probably couldn’t get information unless I knew the person and they came clean.” Godbey also recently got her car keyed by a peer, as well as gaining a number of door dings.

On the plus side, the school resurfaces the blacktop each year with a fresh coat of asphalt. Though the idea of a brand new blacktop waiting for the return of the hundreds of students and staff who park in either the upper or lower lot is an exciting idea, the idea of spending a good couple of dollars and run a heavy diesel truck through the lot annually, is not. According to a study from the National Park Service, asphalt is a mix of chemicals such as petroleum and coal tar-based sealants, which may contain toxic carcinogens. Though asphalt alone is not harmful, the revenue from rain can break down the chemicals and get into the water supply.

Asphalt must be refinished each year not only to prevent cracks and holes throughout the area, but also as a way to seal in the chemicals and keep the blacktop fresh. Sirna explains why it’s necessary to surface the black top. Sirna says, “You’re supposed to resurface it every year because it’s just something about the treatment. It’s like a deck, which if you put a water treatment stain on it to keep water from seeping into it, same idea.

Though it’s necessary to recoat the entire area each year, I wish there were some way to wait until every other year or find a new type of blacktop that lasts just as long but doesn’t need to be redone each year. However, this beats having holes and cracks as old as the school to dodge when parking.

Though there’s constantly strange finds in the trash around the parking lot of Battle, and our cars may be getting a little scrapped here and there, I’m still grateful for a place to park. I will continuously remind my peers to throw their trash away, and pick up any trash that doesn’t seem too slimy to pick up. I urge others to be honest when they damage a car, and people to generally be respectful towards others in the parking lot. Trash and security will continue to be an issue for the school parking lot until students start to care enough to change their habits.