Town and school district officials are currently working with the state to provide the next parking option for students. The plan would involve the town leasing the lot from the state and then providing permits to students who would pay to park at the lot. According to Councilman Tom Bigosinski, the plan would likely be budget neutral to the town.
Students currently have no set lot to park in around the high school. Parking is limited to streets surrounding the Dorian Road building, with many of the streets being two hour parking only. Students have complained that the school schedule does not allow them enough time to move their cars and that parking enforcement officers have been giving more tickets to student cars.
The parking situation was brought up during last night's graduation ceremony, when Class of 2009 President Danielle Zamarelli made several humorous references, including needing to park downtown in order to find a spot near the high school.
Bigosinski said the negotiations remain ongoing between town and state officials and will hopefully be finalized before school opens in September in order to allow students to park at the armory. He said the issue is important to residents near the high school who see many of the cars on their streets. A spokesman for the state Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, which owns the armory, confirmed the on-going negotiations but declined to elaborate on the state's stance on the issue.
WHS Principal Peter Renwick said he is hopeful that the situation will be solved by the time school starts in the fall. He said the proposal is a promising solution to the situation, but stressed a final plan has not come about.
Some WHS students are pleased with the situation and do not mind paying for the right to park across from the school, noting it will help with several travel issues impacting students during the day.
“I would definitely be willing to pay for a parking spot," said Max Schuster, who recently completed his junior year at the high school. "If I was able to park in the armory lot I would not only be close to the school, but I would not have to worry about a lack of parking making me late to school in the morning or when I return from open lunch.”
Not all students are as happy about the proposal as Schuster.
“I think that they should provide the students with a parking lot, such as the armory, but the school should cover the cost in their budget," said Meg Freudenheim, who recently completed her junior year at the high school. "If the teachers do not have to pay for their parking spots I don’t think the students should have to. We are both required to be there."