Building much-needed new classrooms at CVHS will eventually create more space for learning, but in the interim it means longer walks to classes in portable buildings and less available parking for students and staff. The project, funded by the voter-approved Measure G, will eventually add new classrooms on the north side of campus that will house engineering and computer science classes. The work is expected to be complete by the summer of 2019.
“I get that the portables are necessary, but it’s kind of a bother getting out there,” said senior Helen Senchev. “We have to wait outside the gate near 500 for five to ten minutes, so we start class late, which is both good and bad. And a lot of people have their next period across campus and they’re probably late or close to being late,” she said.
Project Lead the Way classes, such as Principles of Engineering and Intro to Engineering, have been moved into the portables. Counseling for students will also be provided in the portables. According to Assistant Principal Patrinia Redd, “The other…portables in that lot are the Wellness Center, which is where our counseling based providers are. Once the portables on the upper field are completed then classrooms in the 400 and 500 building will be moved there.”
Faculty have also noticed the disruptions. “It has been a little bit chaotic. In general, the space is pretty good. It’s nicer than where we were…the wood shop was not an ideal place for a computer science class. There’s no insulation…it’s not very pleasant back there,” said Physics and Computer Science teacher Sean Fottrell.
The remote space affects student and teachers alike, said Fottrell. “Right now, since they still have the gate locked due to construction going on there, it’s kind of a pain. I have to go meet my class and when the bell rings we all walk down to the portable. So the first week we didn’t have anything. When students went out to use the restroom the gate locked behind them and they couldn’t get back in. Now we have campus patrol monitoring that. It’s not ideal, it’s a bit of a disruption, but at the same time it’s a better space.”
In addition to the extra long walks to class, some students who drive to school are also noticing longer walks from where they park, due to fewer on-campus parking permits being issued.
“Sometimes I have to park so far away from the school that I’m late to class, which is difficult because of the stricter tardy policy,” said junior Victoria Vitton.
According to Redd, “Due to construction, we have approximately 70 less student parking spaces on campus. In order to give more students the opportunity to be able to to park on campus we only offered parking by the semester this year. Those who did not receive parking during first semester were entered into a raffle to be given that opportunity second semester.”
Most seniors that lost their first semester parking passes are not happy with the change. “Not having a lot parking pass makes it so inconvenient to go to school because I have to park streets away. It sucks when I am running late already and have to walk an extra five minutes to get onto campus which means I am arriving to school even later,” said senior Phuong Bao.
The spaces are not lost to students forever, Redd noted. “Student parking will be restored once construction has been completed. Unfortunately, that will be some time from now. We are expected to lose even more staff parking as construction continues. We are looking at other options such as compacting parking spaces and finding unused parking areas to expand parking. There is also an attempt to work with the county to gain access to more street parking around the perimeter of the school.”
“Many students are parking within the neighborhoods,” Redd acknowledged. “My recommendation is that arriving earlier can help students find parking faster and it will allot them extra time to get to class. During the lunch period I recommend students walking to their destination to get lunch rather than driving and losing their parking space.”
“I would encourage that more students carpool. This gives students the opportunity to have guaranteed parking for the full year and only pay once if they are selected for a space. Students in the carpool can share the cost of the parking permits, which saves money. Next year there might be a decrease in student parking, so therefore we might increase the number of carpool spaces to accommodate those who are ride sharing,” said Redd.
However, California law does not allow students under 18 who have been driving less than a year to drive other minors, with exceptions for family members, so carpooling is not an option for many CVHS students.
Hopefully, a solution will be made soon so both students and staff have enough parking during construction.