Parking Mania

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Ashley Seymour, Writer

On Oct. 4, 2021, students were happily informed by Bellows Free Academy’s Dean of Students, Matt Bloom, that student parking on campus would finally turn from a dream to reality, but only for two and a half months at a time. 

According to Bloom, “We looked at senior parking last year for the first time when we were in a hybrid model and there were less students. With the creation of the connector and additional spots in the back…more parking spots would provide more parking for teachers to use. Mr. Blanchard and I thought it would be a great way to add a senior privilege.” 

According to Bloom, senior students would get the opportunity to legally park on campus for the first time since 1930. Students were split into groups of 30, groups that would rotate parking every two and a half months. 

Before receiving a bright green parking pass, students had to fill out a Parking Contract, signed by them and their parents. This contract included the student’s license plate numbers, their car insurance and their driver’s license. 

Kylie Neveau (‘22) was one of the selected students for the first round of senior parking. “I was happy I didn’t have to get to school an hour early just to find parking on the street,” Neveau said.

Unfortunately, because BFA is downtown, unlike Champlain Valley Union High School and Colchester High School, we don’t have massive parking lots for students and don’t have the property available for it, so “we do the best with what we have,” said Bloom.

To ensure that permitted seniors get their parking spots, a couple of times a week there are police officers from around St. Albans who come to BFA and put either a warning or a ticket on the cars of students who don’t have a parking pass.

At 2:47 each day, students flee the parking lot to get to their cars as quickly as they can so they can get out within 10 minutes. When asked how we could prevent so much traffic that allows both parents to pick up their students and students to safely leave the parking lot, Bloom said “Because the area is so tight and congested, we could probably look at increas[ing] signage to encourage families to pull off more forward in front of the connector [in order to] allow more cars up and around.” 

Although this could work, it still doesn’t solve the problem of all the cars exiting the school parking lot onto Main Street. When asked why we don’t have a crossing guard like St. Albans Town School right down the street, Bloom responded, “I don’t [know]…I’m not aware of what it really looks like.” 

To prevent parking mania 2.0 for the next group, there needs to be more direction for not only parents but also students. “I’m pretty sure we can park anywhere on campus,” said Georgia Casavant (‘22). Contrary to her thoughts about parking wherever on campus, Bloom stated, “Students from MVU that come for the Tech Center park up by the building sometimes, but the expectation is in front of the connector.”