SOUTHINGTON — School officials are hoping to use surplus funds to expand the Southington High School parking lot.
The expansion would add nearly 100 spaces to the existing 400 and allow more students to park on campus, rather than on the street.
“It’s really needed,” said board member Zaya Oshana Jr. “Getting those new spots in there, getting people off the road.”
There’s no crossing guard to help students who park on the street, Oshana said, and he’s concerned about safety with the existing situation.
School Superintendent Tim Connellan said the expansion would help but not solve the parking problem at the high school.
“Adding those spots will bring us to just under what some of our class sizes are,” he said. “There still isn’t going to be enough parking spaces for everyone.”
Neighbors have complained about students parking in nearby neighborhoods. Connellan and high school administrators have sent letters home with students asking that they “be courteous” and not block trash cans or driveways, but the letters haven’t worked, he said.
“The solution is for students to be more courteous in how they park and parents to make sure they’re courteous,” Connellan said.
Most of the parking lot was installed in the 1970s. School operations director Peter Romano said the entire lot will need to be replaced in the near future, possibly in three or five years. Board members asked if it would be more efficient to wait on the expansion and redo the entire parking lot. Romano said there was no reason to wait.
“When you see how expensive it will be to reclaim and repave the whole parking lot, it’s going to be a drop in the bucket to do the addition,” he said.
In November, the Board of Education approved a priorities list for the $586,464 left unspent from the previous fiscal year's budget. Board members debated whether to fund a new lighting system for Southington High School for $190,000 or a high school parking lot expansion for $207,000.
The board decided in favor of the new lighting system. That project and other priorities didn’t leave enough money for the parking lot work.