This year, the tradition of decorating senior parking spots at Coppell High School is back. But from the looks of the parking lot, not all of the seniors are too eager to participate due to the new restrictions limiting their amount of space to decorate.
Because of campus construction in 2014 impacting the parking lot, decorating the senior parking lot was put on hold. Prior to construction, seniors had been given the opportunity to decorate their parking spaces every year.
Now that the full parking lot has reopened, seniors once again are given the chance to decorate their parking spots. This school year, however, the amount of space they have to decorate has been limited to a square three foot by three foot space, rather than the entire parking space.
Prior to construction, the parking lot would come alive with pictures and designs scattered throughout the parking spaces at the start of each year.
Generally, whether it is just a statement of creativity or a representation of themselves, seniors paint their spaces with all different images depicting their favorite memories, their best friends or sports they participate in.
“I decided to paint my parking space because it was just something that only seniors could do, and I’ve been looking forward to doing it since I was a freshman,” CHS senior Layne Allen said. “I’m painting something from one of my favorite musicals.”
This year, the senior parking lot isn’t as embellished with decorations as it has been in the past.
Only five people have registered to pay the $40 their parking spots this year, which shows a significant decline in purchases as compared to previous years.
Many seniors opted out of decorating their spots because they were not happy with the new policy of decorating within a three by three space.
“When I heard there was a limitation I got disappointed,” said senior Amanda Moehlis, who elected not to paint her spot. “I didn’t know how I could paint my parking spot in a way that would express who I was in a tiny square.”
While this new policy may seem to seniors like it is putting a cap on their creativity, there are many reasons why this was implemented.
“We wanted to avoid our parking lot looking very cluttered by these huge parking spaces painted from corner to corner,” CHS Principal Mike Jasso said.
Besides aesthetic, cost was another factor that played into this new decision.
“One problem we were having over the years was people would paint over the actual [parking space] number, so that’s a cost; we have to renumber every year,” Jasso said.
Not only do the parking space numbers have to be repainted but many of the actual parking space parameters have to be redone.
“In the past when we’ve done painting, students will paint all the way to the edges and [over] the white parking lines,” CHS assistant principal Jeremy Varnell said. “Even if [students] didn’t paint over [the lines], they painted right up to them. Making sure there’s actual parameters present every year is really difficult.”
In the future, Coppell ISD plans to hire someone to strip away all of the prior painting over the summer and get the parking lot ready for the next class of seniors to decorate.
“It’s a lot less expensive and a lot easier if you’re stripping away a three by three, as opposed to the entire parking space,” Jasso said.
In some cases, seniors will come in during non-school hours and paint their parking spots past the three by three space that they are given.
Varnell says that there is not a standard course of action for the students who decide to paint more than the policy permits, however there is potential for disciplinary action.
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