The Search for a Spot

The parking lots at NASH fill fast each morning, leading both to student-driver frustration and administrative concerns regarding safety.


photo by Jess Daninhirsch

The main lot next to the athletic entrance is usually the first to fill up.

Maddie Harris, Arts and Entertainment Editor

For students, one of the most anticipated changes from NAI to NASH is the possibility of saying goodbye to early mornings on the school bus. For licensed juniors and seniors who have purchased NASH parking permits, driving to school can be especially advantageous on these winter mornings, where the warmth of their cars offers an inviting rest before the day begins.

But it’s not always easy to find a parking spot in the NASH lot. 

“I arrive around 6:55 am, which is almost 30 minutes before school starts, and it takes a while to find one,” junior Mikayla Tieppo said. 

For senior Gannon Sprinkle, who arrives later than Tieppo, the search for a spot is even harder.

“I usually arrive at 7:18 in the morning,” Sprinkle said. “It is incredibly hard to get a parking spot. Usually, there are no spots in the main lot left when I get there. I have a carpool, and I drop the guy off to make sure he gets to school on time because I have to go to the tennis court lot after looking through the main one.”

NASH School Resource Officer Todd Ray is well aware of the situation.

“Typically by 7:15, parking [in the main lot] is no longer available,” Ray said.

Ray’s particular concern is that student drivers are making unsafe decisions as they try to secure a spot in order the arrive on time to school.

“We still see students cutting through the isles trying to find available parking,” he said. “I would say greater than 100 cars are turning into that area when nothing is available. Students are showing up late when there are clearly no spots available in the main lot.”

Students are showing up late when there are clearly no spots available in the main lot.

— Officer Ray

NASH Principal Dr. Dirda reiterated the important of student driver safety.

“We want to continue to remind students the importance of safe driving as we have approximately 1,400 students and 150 staff members on campus daily,” Dirda said. “After compiling feedback from students and staff, several changes were made to our student/staff arrival and dismissal procedures.”

Ray believes that the main issue with the parking lot regards student arrival times.

“Nobody wants to walk in the cold, myself included, so nobody wants to walk from the furthest point.” Ray said, referring to additional parking lots near the tennis courts. “So again, common sense — if you get here early there will be more spots available.”

Nevertheless, Tieppo, who shares Ray’s concerns about driver safety, is still frustrated.

“It’s packed every day,” she said. “The spots become so scarce that you are willing to park in any spot even if it’s tight. I’ve been a part of and witnessed multiple car accidents in this parking lot just this year due to the parking situation.”

Ray explained that a temporary solution may be in the works.

“We know that with inclement weather some spots are not available because they are snowed in,” he said. “In those particular cases where there is no availability, we’re going to make the staff parking available for students. We need to find spots for the students who pay for spaces, so we will open up limiting staff parking if spots are snow-covered.”

No matter the circumstances, parking at NASH will never be easy. With the number of student drivers and the number of parking spaces available, it ultimately comes down to arrival time. But on days when students are running late and can’t find anywhere to park, Ray is more than willing to accommodate. 

“All we’re asking is that students go check all areas of the lots first,” Ray explained. “If nothing is available and I can clearly see that nothing is available, I am going to say, ‘Hey guess what, we are going to utilize these staff spots.’”