The high school front parking lot was still under construction last week, despite plans for work to conclude before the first day of school.
According to Scott Stephens, director of communications, the Chagrin Valley Paving Company began work to repave the high school front parking lot a day or two after classes ended last school year. Beneath the asphalt surface was an unstable foundation.
Stephens said the construction was set back because the lot needed a new solid foundation, which was not originally factored into the process. “It appears that in the past, asphalt was simply layered upon layer,” he wrote in an email. “That’s not a sound way to do it.”
The lot was paved yesterday, but parking around the high school last week, already more difficult because of the addition of Fernway staff, was worsened by the late completion. “This kind of work depends on the weather,” Stephens wrote. “We’ve had a wet summer and it went a little slower than anticipated.”
A Shaker Heights city ordinance states, “The typical work day for operation of heavy equipment will be approximately 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Work on asphalt replacement could extend to 6-7 p.m.” Stephens added weekend work time is limited to 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
“We have been in a rush to complete it,” Stephens wrote. “Our contractors have worked weekends on it. We can’t control the weather.” Principal Jonathan Kuehnle wrote in an email to all staff that the paving company prefers to do the work without students around.
Stephens said the school talked to the city about receiving additional parking because of the loss of the front lot. The city opened additional parking opportunities near South Park, north of South Woodland and Woodbury Road. “The city has been very helpful with that,” he wrote.
Senior Jade Smith said, “It’s really stupid to me. It doesn’t make sense that we don’t have a place to park. They know we have to park all the way down by Woodbury, and then we’re late to class all the time.”
Senior Necumba Booker has to arrive at 7 a.m. to claim a spot. Recently, he’s parked in the teacher’s lot to be closer to the school. “How do the police know whose car is whose? They didn’t give me a ticket, and I parked in the permit spot,” he said.
Booker said the parking situation makes him wish he did not have to drive to school, but he does not have a choice.
Stephens said the main complication with parking is the additional cars belonging to Fernway Elementary School teachers, who have moved temporarily to Woodbury and Onaway elementary schools because of the July 19 Fernway fire. He said he is confident that opening up the front lot will help ease the problem.
Web Editor Ellie Vahey contributed reporting.