NES construction creates student parking problem

Callaghan Bartlett


(October 19, 2015)

This week, construction on the elementary and intermediate school’s parking lot will commence. This construction will cause a strict limitation on student parking that will not be resolved until this winter at the earliest.

Currently, students at Nantucket High School park on First Way and in the elementary school field lot. There are roughly 48 spots for students in these areas. When construction begins, all 48 spots will be unavailable. All student parking at this point must be moved back into the high school and middle school parking lot, as well as the basketball court. In prior years, students were able to park in the basketball court, if they had a School to Career block or they purchased a permit from the Student Council. Due to the increase in teachers, all spots in these lots have been assigned to faculty members. All other parking on campus is assigned to either administration or visitors. This means that there is theoretically no parking for students on the NHS campus.

Administration has worked in varying ways to make parking available to students. Vice Principal John Lucchini reached out to staff members to find out school employees do not use their parking spots, and if they were willing to surrender them. There were very few staff members who responded to this. While there are those who do not always use their parking spots, as a member of faculty they are guaranteed parking and have no obligation to forfeit their parking spot, even if they use it infrequently.

Staff parking was reorganized, and visitor parking will be reduced in the front of the school. With all these changes, 23 spots will be made available to students.

“Twenty three is it, on campus, that I will have available for students. That’s it. If you look inside the basketball court, it says I only have three spots available. There are people here that I know aren’t parking out there, but they did not reply and say ‘I don’t have a car, you can use my spot,’ so I can’t give it up. And I don’t know why. Maybe it’s gonna rain and they’re gonna drive when it rains. I want to be clear with that, because I know students are going to be frustrated when I tell them there are only 23 spots available, and they’re gonna say ‘wait a second, what about the basketball court.’ Well this is ‘what about the basketball court’,” said Lucchini.

Many spots appear to be vacant during the day, but there are many members of staff who may only teach one or two classes, or who don’t have a class at the beginning of school. Despite this, they are still guaranteed a spot for the whole school day. Nine of the 23 available student spots must be allocated to students who are enrolled in a School to Career block. This class requires that students have a vehicle on campus. After these nine, 14 spots will be available for the remaining student drivers. Priority for parking will be given to seniors, but there are more than 14 seniors who have registered their cars, and therefore drive to school. Lucchini plans to randomly select seniors for the spots to be as fair as possible.

“The Superintendent said, ‘seniors first, school to career, and then juniors are on their own’. This is a list of all the students who have registered a vehicle with the front office. You can’t park on school property unless you have registered your car. These nine are going to take nine spaces. That leaves out of 23, do the math, 14 spots. I got more than 14 seniors. The only way I can think of doing it fairly is taking the seniors who have a registered car, putting them into a thing, and pulling their names out, and the first 14 get a spot,” said Lucchini.

Lucchini, as well as Superintendent of Schools Michael Cozort, have also made efforts to locate opportunities for student parking off-campus. The Nantucket Ice Rink was asked if it would be available for student parking, but they declined. Cozort also reached out to the Boys and Girls Club, and they are considering allowing students to park in their lot; however, students would have to vacate the spots immediately after school at 2:20, which could pose a problem, according to Lucchini.

Construction on the new parking lot will be ‘sufficiently done’ by January, making parking available again. A rendering estimates around 160 spots, and the elementary and intermediate school reported that they will need 100 of these spots. An additional 10 will be required by the central offices. This leaves 50 spots for NHS students, which is only two more than what was available before.

“Our enrollment continues to grow. Every Friday, more students are getting their licenses. We were really close to capacity the day I went out and counted,” said Lucchini.

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