Parking lot overhaul adds parking spaces, isolates traffic at Steamboat Springs High School
District plans to plant mature trees back along Maple Street next fall
Parents and students at Steamboat Springs High School will see significant changes to the parking lot, drop-off area and bus loop when they return for the first day of school later this month.
The rearrangement of the high school parking lot separates traffic from parents dropping students off, students parking, and buses bringing students to the school in hopes of alleviating congestion.
“At the high school, it has always been not ideal with all the traffic falling at the front of the building, whether it’s school busses, parents (or) kid drivers,” said Pascal Ginesta, the school district’s facilities manager.
The work started as the 2021-22 school year was ending. Ginesta said everything is expected to be wrapped up before school starts on Aug. 22 for freshmen and Aug. 23 for other grade levels.
Before, buses would enter the parking lot through a one-way entrance off Second Street and drive in front of the building, where students would be dropped off. This arrangement forced students leaving school, drivers looking to pick students up and buses all into the same area.
“Buses would come in on the blue, go over to the green and cut across the front of the building,” Ginesta said, referencing a color-coded map the district put together to show the separation of various areas. “That was just chaos in the morning.”
The old one-way entrance into the parking lot is now exclusively for dropping students off. Parents will enter, drive on a new drop-off loop and exit at the same place they entered.
Additionally, the student parking lot is now separated from the drop-off lane with its entrance and exit taking the place of the former parking lot exit on Second Street. Ginesta said the reconfiguration added 70 parking spots and also will help with snow removal and drainage.
Buses will now enter into a new bus loop in a widened entrance off of Maple Street and make their way to the same spot where students have typically been dropped off. While connected to the student parking lot, there is signage that makes it clear the loop is only open to bus traffic, Ginesta said.
Staff parking is designated on the east side of the building, and staff will enter and exit the lot at the same place the buses do.
Ginesta said he has “taken a lot of heat” after several established trees were cut down along Maple Street to make way for the new bus loop. He added that in about a year, the district will plant mature trees back into that area.
In addition to the work outside, replacing the carpet throughout much of the building should be done on time as well, Ginesta said.
The auditorium also received upgraded house, step and row lights, which Ginesta said will alleviate problems with people not having enough light to move around during a show. These new lights will eventually tie into planned upgrades with the theatrical lighting system.
“New seating, new paint, new flooring — it’s impressive,” Ginesta said. “I look forward to when we can all gather in there and enjoy that for the first time as a group.”
To reach Dylan Anderson, call 970-871-4247 or email danderson@SteamboatPilot.com.
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