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Published on September 29th, 2011 | by Staff 12-13

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Staff parking undergoes construction

Sintra Martins
Staff Writer

Because the construction that will be going on at Samo throughout this year will take up space in the north parking lot, staff parking spaces have been moved and reassigned, causing much confusion on campus.

According to H-House Principal Leslie Wells, starting in December, construction on the new Science and Technology Building will force the school to make alterations to staff-parking assignments, including moving some staff members to the Santa Monica Civic Center Parking Lot.

The new building will replace the current softball field, and part of the north parking lot will be used to store construction materials like machines and supplies.

Last year, a parking regulation committee of faculty and staff members was formed to discuss how to deal with these changes.

The committee was created to find, “a f air and equitable way of assigning parking,” according to Wells.

According to Dean of Students Catherine Baxter, the names of all faculty and staff, including the new hires, were chosen at random in order to distribute the parking spaces in an unbiased way.

According to Wells, a survey was created to determine the most convenient place for each teacher to park. It asked questions such as the time the teacher leaves campus, whether he or she has any children and if the teacher leaves often during the school day.

“[It was created} to see what teachers' and staff members' needs were in regards to parking," Wells said.

According to Baxter, 250 parking spots will no longer be available this year in the north lot. However, new lines were striped to make room for 20 more spaces in other lots throughout campus.

Once construction begins, some staff members will begin parking in the Santa Monica Civic Center structure. The individual staff members will not have to pay the parking fees.

The city has denied the school discounts on parking for faculty members. In order to pay for parking at the Civic Center, Samo will deduct $82.50 per teacher each month from the construction budget.

"Every dollar we spend on parking is a dollar less that we spend on construction," Wells said.

According to Baxter, every year the parking arrangement will shift, ensuring that each teacher only spends on in every three years at the Civic Center.

The complete renovation of the entire school will last up to 25 years, according to Baxter.

According to Wells, parking problems aren't limited to just lack of spaces. Teachers who unlock the parking lot gate during school hours occasionally leave then unlocked, thus leaving the lot open for strangers to come in and students to walk out.

"What happens is that the teachers unlock the gates, but are too lazy to shut them," Wells said.

According to Wells, teachers will not be issued gate keys this year, but security and custodial staff will have copies in case of an emergency.

Because this change was made recently, parents are not yet aware that the north lot is no longer available for visitor parking.

Samo's new drama teacher, Katheryne Soller, had her parking spot in the north lot assigned to her with the same guidelines as other staff members: Gates closed at 8:15 a.m. and reopened at 4 p.m.

"It hasn't been an issue for me yet, but in theory it is an issue for me. In the event that there is an emergency you can't get out ... it's kind of an unnerving thought," Soller said. "However, they have reassured us that in the event of an emergency, they will send security to unlock [the gate]. That’s the thing that made me feel a little bit better.”

smartins@thesamohi.com


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