[Newscast includes additional details regarding the parking lot renovation as well as an interview with UHS Principal John Pehrson.]
By PHOEBE SOLOMON
In recent months, University High School’s (UHS) parking lot has seen considerable improvements. When the school year began anew in early September, students and staff alike were witness to UHS’s recently-developed solar panels. Additionally, fresh slurry had been spread over the surface of the parking lot, and parking spaces had been newly striped, effectively widening the spaces and allowing drivers a more comfortable parking experience.
In order to gain some perspective, measurements were taken of spots in three separate parking lots; those in the “junior” lot, having initially been 6.75 feet (81 inches) wide, were found to have been enlarged to slightly over 8 feet (97.5 inches). The upgraded “senior” lot boasted new spots 8.25 feet wide, up from less than 7 feet (82 inches). Prior to being redone, administrative spots were 10.25 feet wide and regular staff spaces were marginally wider than 10 feet (121 inches). The buffers between each space were also widened; in the “senior” lot, by half an inch, and by 1.6 inches in the “junior” lot.
This expansion is expected to lessen the susceptibility of student vehicles to scratches and door dings inflicted by other cars. Spencer Ma (Sr.) said he was aware of “a couple of accidents and a few scratches” that occurred because of narrow student spaces. He elaborated by claiming that now that the spaces are widened, “it is much easier, especially for my car, to get in and out of spaces.” John Pehrson (Admin.) said “the wider the space, the less chance” of collisions with other cars.
In regards to why the parking spots were so narrow, Pehrson said, “If you have narrow spots, you can have more of them. At some point in time, parking was at a premium and more spaces were desired.” Every 10 to 12 years, Irvine Unified School District’s maintenance department improves a school’s parking lot; with the recent renovations comes hope that the new spaces will contribute to a more seamless flow of traffic.
Although the school’s parking lot does face spatial limitations, the widened spaces will not lower the number of available spaces. Pehrson said, “While we will lose some spaces in front of the 200s we will pick up some additional newly created spaces in front of the administration building.”
With these changes, as well as the new bell schedule, questions arise as to whether traffic will flow more smoothly and whether crossing guard hours will be extended to ensure the safety of students in zero-periods.
Students at UHS have positively received the recent improvements to the parking lots, and hopefully these developments will encourage more students to drive and park their cars at school.