By Sophia Walck
FishHawk school Newsome High sent out a call to parents recently to let families know that the rising junior class will not have access to on-campus parking this upcoming school year due to construction. Seniors are the only permitted class to park on campus, and this will likely stay the same for the next two-year construction period.
However, of 825 seniors, there are only about 600 parking spaces available as a result of construction for this upcoming school year. All 100 previous overflow parking spots will be given to teachers, and about 30-40 spots from the original 640 spots in the student lot will be taken away. This will make for an extremely competitive environment over the summer parking pass sign-up.
Parents and students alike are truly bothered by this ordeal, as not many places around Newsome allow for students to park on its premises and some areas around Newsome have been known to tow student vehicles from the parking lots.
Rising junior Tim Collis reacted as “bummed” upon hearing the news. When asked how he plans on getting to school next year, Collis explained, “We will either carpool again like we did last year or I will drive and park somewhere close and hope they won’t tow.” Collis lives roughly 10 minutes away with no traffic, but it is known to be around 20-30 minutes with school traffic. This is a major disadvantage to Collis as it is, but with no direct parking access to Newsome, he’s at an even bigger disadvantage.
Unlike some areas, the nearby FishHawk Sports Complex plans to accommodate Newsome students as it has in the past. Chris Kiddy, interim athletics manager in Hillsborough County, said, “Last year, students started parking in the dirt between the complex and road. Our staff wanted to stop them from parking there because they thought it to be unsafe, so they allowed them to park in the actual parking lot instead.”
Kiddy agreed that with a larger population of students unable to park on Newsome’s campus, the previous estimate of student drivers parking on the complex’s property will increase.
“I think with leadership and managers getting together to oversee the parking situation through estimates and numbers, the sports complex can be part of the solution,” said Kiddy.
Parents and students are scrounging to find ways to get to school, and there are a few recommended options: carpool with a senior friend, park at the FishHawk Sports Complex, ride the bus or be dropped off by a parent. The first three options are the most fitting for most students since the majority of parents work in the morning and are unable to take their children to school.
For more information about the FishHawk Sports Complex, visit www.hillsboroughcounty.org/en/locations/fishhawk-sports-complex.
Good luck, students!