The consequences of construction on students

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Photo by: Sumin Kim

The parking garage is pictured as it would look once the construction has finished. Along with facts as to what is happening now and in the future.

Faith Lawrence, Managing editor

Changes around campus aim to increase the maximum capacity of Bowie from 2,463 to 2,900 through creating new parking spots as well as new fine arts and athletic buildings, according to the 2017 Bond Program. On paper, adding additional parking spaces for students is a great idea, but students were unaware of the magnitude of the bond project and what it would entail.

SUMMER CONSTRUCTION

Construction on Bowie’s parking lots began over the summer, leaving the school closed to any activities including sports practice, regular office hours, and teachers preparing for the school year.

“We weren’t able to start rehearsals for Into the Woods as early as we would have liked to, so it definitely put a damper on those rehearsals,” senior Gillian Griffis said. “We were planning on rehearsing like two weeks before school started. I know a lot of organizations meet up before school starts to get stuff done and they weren’t able to do that.”

Summer renovations also led to further complications during the beginning of the school year like busses running off of schedule and Lot A students being displaced for two weeks.

“I know we didn’t have air conditioning in all of our classrooms up until almost the day that school started and we still face some challenges with regards to that, but I think our teachers in this building [have] done a really amazing job,” Assistant Principal Aaron Vohl said.

PARKING GARAGE

Many students, including Junior Amelia Crawford, would have preferred if the parking garage had not been built. Crawford believes the garage will be the cause of more traffic.

“I have never heard one student or member of the faculty say anything positive about the parking garage,” Crawford said. “The parking garage will take forever to leave after school not to mention that it will be very hard for inexperienced drivers. I think that many accidents will occur when students try to leave, as it will be harder to observe your surroundings. It also seems unsafe for students to have to walk in the parking garage alone at night after extracurriculars. I feel like I am waiting for parking that no one wants”

Junior Lily Albini’s main complaint about the parking garage is that it will be difficult for new drivers to deal with and navigate.

“There [was] definitely a lack of parking but I feel like a parking garage wasn’t the best idea, especially with new drivers,” Albini said. “I am definitely scared and I will be hesitant to park in the garage next year if it is complete. I overall do not think it is very smart putting new drivers in a small garage and I think it will increase accidents from people trying to get out and beat traffic or get in and to class.”

PARKING

The conditions for having a parking permit have changed since last school year; students now will get only one warning before having their car towed as opposed to the previous three warnings. This change is due to a limited number of parking spaces in every lot.

“I really do need our students doing as requested with regards to parking, because otherwise they’re impacting other students [and] they could impact our relationship with some of these other entities that are helping us out,” Vohl said.

Griffis, who parks in Lot A, is generally satisfied with her location of parking due to the proximity to school and not a large amount of change from the 2018-2019 school year’s parking.

“I am lucky because I am in Lot A and I don’t have to experience construction as much but I would have hated it as a sophomore, getting my license and just wanting to drive to school and having to park on [Wolftrap] or not being able to park near Bowie,” Griffis said.

While both Lot A and Lot B are nearby Bowie and allow students to have close parking to school, students parked at Lot C, which is 1.3 miles away from Bowie, have to plan for shuttle commute when leaving for school in the morning.

“When I park at Lot C, I have to leave my house 30 to 40 minutes earlier than I [did] for when my mom drove me previously,” Albini said. “After school, it also adds about 15 minutes to get home from the shuttle ride time and the traffic. But I think the shuttle isn’t that bad. Despite the extra time it takes back and [forth] it is an okay system.”

In addition to getting displaced parking spots for two weeks at the beginning of the school year, current seniors were not able to paint their own parking spots over the summer like previous senior classes have.

“For this one year, the band isn’t using the [parking lot] yet, so we should be able to paint the spots and then paint over it at the end of the year,” Griffis said. “It’s little and not very important, but to [seniors] who have been told since freshman year that we were going to be able to paint a spot, it’s kind of annoying. We’ve been thinking of ideas for it and just can’t do it.”

ENVIRONMENT

However, construction has not only impacted student’s schedules and parking situations, it has also affected a species of bird, the golden-cheeked warbler, living in an area of construction.

“My understanding is [the golden warbler is] an endangered species and due to where it habitats they had to delay some of the work in that area until it migrated,” Management Assistant to the Principal Debby Theis said.

FUTURE FOR BOWIE

While changes around school can be frustrating, Vohl is looking forward to the outcome of construction and seeing the parking garage as well as new buildings complete.

“I know that may be harder for some of our seniors because they won’t have the luxury of enjoying this parking garage that we have been so in need of for so long, for 30 years,” Vohl said. “I appreciate everybody for being patient and working with me and that’s been helpful to say the least.”

Even though construction is currently a big inconvenience for students and staff, Theis urges students to have patience and focus on the better outcome for Bowie.

“I’m most looking forward to the end of the construction for my siblings to have a better Bowie to attend,” Albini said. “I think all of the new facilities in their plans will be great for incoming grades as long as the construction runs a little smoother.”

Bowie plans to add universal air conditioning and heat once all renovations of the school are done, estimating to be completed by 2022.

“I feel like the [administration is] focusing so much on the parking right now that I would be curious to see what they were going to do about central air and heat, which is something I know a lot of people are looking forward to but aren’t exactly sure how it’s going to happen,” Griffis said.

While construction on Bowie is going to take up at least another two years, Vohl believes the benefits will be worth the wait.

“Thanks for being understanding to our students, as well as our families,” Vohl said. “I know this is a challenging year, but hopefully we’re going to see a lot of benefit in the future with regards to the construction. I wish I could provide parking for everybody; I wish I could snap my fingers and make it happen. I’m thankful that our families and our students have, you know, been as understanding as they have and have found ways to make it work.”