Editorial: Prioritize Parking for Student Drivers

   The student parking at South Beach is far from perfect. On land rented by a neighboring church, Carrollwood Day School students have the inconvenience of parking in a dirt field. As CDS grew, parking became more and more scarce. In the past, when the high school first opened, juniors and seniors were able to park in designated lots. As the school grew, students kept getting pushed further out. Beginning around five years ago, all students must park at South Beach and make the long journey to class. The school has acknowledged that student parking has flaws, but permanent parking is not the school priority even though it should be.

   South Beach is only accessible by one road, meaning that once a student is there they cannot leave until after school has started. In addition, a student is not able to enter the parking area after school is released. Now is the time to rethink the parking at CDS. A paved lot or parking garage could solve the persistent problem of parking. Assistant Head of Upper School Donna Holyman said this has been discussed at meetings, but nothing has seemed to come of it yet. Head of School Sara Rubinstein said, “Having a paved parking lot would be nice, but it comes down to priority.”

   It is true that the needs of all students would be met with new athletic facilities and buildings dedicated to learning, but older students need a permanent way of parking that is more organized. Another argument against more developed student parking is restriction of land. It is hard to find land, but South Beach is already being used as parking. It is rented, but if it were able to be bought from the church instead of rented there would be more than enough room to create a parking lot or parking garage. While this is one solution, another way to approach the dilemma is creating a parking garage in the existing east parking lot, where upper and middle school teachers park. The parking would be condensed into one spot for teachers and students, leaving room available for other construction projects to come. The student parking would be permanent and closer to the school, creating an effective and efficient solution to the South Beach student parking problem. Despite the fact that building a parking garage or lot would cost millions of dollars, it would be cost efficient to pair with the construction of the Center for Innovation with a new parking situation