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Mounds View High School's student news site.

The Viewer

Mounds View High School's student news site.

The Viewer

Mounds View High School's student news site.

The Viewer

Mounds View High School's student news site.

The Viewer

Parking predicament

Parking+predicament

This past summer, Mounds View began renovating the school’s north parking lot. The project to repave, remove gas pumps and add streetlights to the space once used as a bus lot, was delayed multiple times due to weather and supply chain delays. The completion timeline is currently projected to be around late October to early November. As the school year began, the ongoing construction created challenges for students and staff who drive to school.

To adjust to the limited parking spaces without the north lot, Associate Principals Benjamin Chiri and Gretchen Zahn created a plan to have staff double-park with another staff member, and allot space around the building, such as on the grass, as parking spots. This ended on Sept. 14 with the completion of phase one of the north lot’s construction, which allowed staff to park in the newly finished front half.

Although 432 students requested parking permits, only 248 were provided with one by the first day of school. The majority of students who received a pass got priority because they are seniors, commute to other campuses or carpool with other students. Some students who were not issued permits, but still wished to drive to school, have found they can park in nearby areas, such as neighborhood streets or St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, and walk to Mounds View from there. 

Junior Jacob O’Brien is one of the students who did not receive a pass. He lives outside of the school district for half of the week, meaning he usually does not have the option to take the bus. “I was a little stressed out because I didn’t know where I was going to park,” O’Brien said about not receiving a pass, “but then I saw a parking spot, and I’m like, I’m going to take that.” The spot he found happens to be half a mile away from school which is equivalent to an eight- to ten-minute walk. Even though he hopes to eventually get a parking permit, he is finding some advantages to not having one. “I actually like the walk. It’s not that bad. It’s an enjoyable end to my day,” he added. He is prepared to adjust accordingly as the weather gets colder.

Junior Jamie Nick finds the construction and lack of parking as a bothersome start to the school year. “The parking project is a great inconvenience to those who have after school sports or morning lifting and didn’t get permits,” she said. “Students are having to walk over half a mile to school if they are parking at St. John’s, which most students are.” She looks forward to the completion, saying, “I’m sure that the parking lot project will be a positive in the long run, but right now it is a source of aggravation for most students.” However, until the lot is completed, Nick must take the bus when she can’t drive herself or carpool.

The completion of the construction will come with fewer parking spaces than previous years due to the new layout of the lot, explains Dan Engebretson, parking lot supervisor. “Because the way it’s designed with the median and the one ways, it actually took away some spots, about 100 less spots,” he said. Due to this and the number of students who have requested permits, not every student who requested a parking pass will be given one this year. “Last year we gave out just under 500 [parking permits], about 492. Some were never claimed, and we oversold a bit as we did not know how many total spots we really had (you know how creative some students got when parking in the lot last year with no lines, etc. It was a bit of a free for all),” said Gary Swanson, administrative assistant, who helped facilitate parking permits last year.

As construction continues, most Mounds View students and staff eagerly await its completion. Principal Robert Reetz acknowledges the effect it has, “I don’t love that any student is inconvenienced by technical things like parking or access to permits. I wish we had a parking spot for every student that had a car, I do. I want kids to have that flexibility, but we don’t,” he said. “I appreciate students’ patience. I appreciate them giving us grace.”

About the Contributor
Tyler Quattrin, Print Editor-in-Chief and Features Editor
Hello! I am thrilled to be a print Editor-in-Chief for my third year on The Viewer. Outside of The Viewer, I am a captain of the Mounds View Boys Swim and Dive team. Feel free to reach out to me directly at [email protected]. Awards:  Best of SNO - Mounds View Theater casting sparks controversy Best of SNO - Pro-life activists rally against Minnesota abortion legislation Best of SNO - From Mounds View to the MN Supreme Court: Chief Justice Hudson's distinguished career Journalism Day at The Guthrie runner up - ‘Dial M for Murder’ Revitalizes Hitchcock’s Classic at the Guthrie
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