(DEAN EFSTATHIU / EYE OF THE TIGER)
Roseville High School began demolition on the parking lot west of the 900’s buildings last Monday – the first step in beginning construction on the new auxiliary gym, which will replace the small gym and feature a full basketball court, wrestling room, storage, team room and a girls locker room. As RHS takes its first steps towards its main Measure D project, students and staff will face many changes over the next year.
With the addition of the gym, school board members plan on getting rid of the small gym, one of the original buildings of RHS, to improve the current quality of the campus. When and what will replace the small gym is still unknown. Board member Scott Huber feels that the board won’t decide until further down the road.
“The whole construction project is a domino process; once one falls, others will follow. The new gym is just the first domino,” Huber said. “The main focus is what makes most sense for the school. Our goal is to make it so there’s no portables and to potentially bring the tennis courts back.”
Part of this refurbishing includes the walkway into the back of the stadium that is expected to aid athletes, as well as lowering congestion to the stadium in fire emergencies.
RHS has planned to replace the old auxiliary gym and girls locker room for over a decade. However the school never began undertaking the project due to a lack of funds.
With the passage of Measure D back in 2016, Roseville Joint Union High School District has received $96 million in bonds towards renovating schools; $14 million of which are currently being used to fund the auxiliary gym and surrounding changes.
Due to construction taking place in the parking spaces west of the 900’s building, administrators have started assigning lot locations for teachers to utilize in the front staff parking lot and the new lot between the 900’s East and Independence building.
The new lot will be staff-only with 30 regular spaces, as well as two handicapped spots. It will also have access to the back of the stadium in an attempt to improve access for after school games.
AP Science teacher Christopher Addington believes that the construction will fuel the complaints with parking.
“Parking has always been an issue on this campus,” Addington said. “I mean it has been for years and obviously this construction is going to impact it a little bit. But, we do want our new gym so we’re going to have to put up with it.”
Although RHS English teacher Amy Mowrer will miss the convenience of the old lot, she is excited for the changes the new gym and parking area will bring.
“I think we’re all glad that we’re going to have the opportunity to have the auxiliary gym and that the physical plant of the school is going to be improved to create some new spaces for staff and students to enjoy and get to do new things in a more conducive environment,” Mower said. “I know the girls will be happy to have a new locker room for sure, so if that means that there is a little hussle with the parking then we’ll just figure that out.”
During the years the old lot has been available, teachers often had to park somewhere last minute to accomodate for events like the Blood Drive, Career Fair, and now construction, all of which were hosted in the 900s lot.
With this new change, teacher Amy Marsh feels that the end goal is all that really matters.
“I think it’s a good project. It’s good for the school, it’s going to be good for the students, and sure it’s going to be an inconvenience for people who park there but that’s okay,” Marsh said. “There used to be portables there and no one parked there and we were fine, so we’ll make it work.”
Assistant principal Jason Wilson understands that the loss of staff spots has impacted both staff and students, but encourages them to find a parking spot that works for them.
“We have less parking, because we used [the staff lot] for parking [during the school day and sports], so we won’t have that… people will need to get creative. Be aware, come prepared, those kinds of things,” Wilson said.
During this time of adjustment, both administrators and the district are looking at ways to combat the lack of parking. Even though there’s not a solution in the near future, Huber is optimistic about parking on campus in the long run.
“We recognize that parking is an issue at Roseville High School, particularly during the time of construction of the new gym,” Huber said. “We are looking at options to ease the problem, but we understand that it might not be completely solvable until construction is completed. So, we ask for teachers, students, parents, and athletes to plan some extra time in their commute because they may have to park further away.”
While working on the new auxiliary gym, construction crews struck a water main, cutting off water to the facilities in the back fields. Until further notice, the stadium restrooms and upper field water fountains will be out of order. To compensate, the school has placed portable toilets until the issue can be resolved.
Congestion in walkways:
The new auxiliary gym will be built between the Moeller Gym, portables, 700’s and 900’s building. During construction, construction workers have put up a temporary fence around this area, limiting students to about an eight-foot walkway on the three available sides.
Once school lets out in the summer, the entire area will be fenced off for building. During construction, the area the builders are in becomes their property; the district leases it out to them to build the gym. The builders have given students the largest area they could, however students still feel the frustration from having to readjust their walk.
Senior Oliver Philips feels that the congestion makes the travel more difficult than it needs to be during the six minute passing period.
“I think [the fences] are horrible,” Philips said. “They make our walk to the portables twice as long and it’s really cramped because when everyone tries to fit in them, there’s not enough space.”
Although Wilson understands the frustration from students, he is proud of how quick of an adjustment students have made to the increased number of construction workers and movement on campus.
“It’s fun, it’s exciting, it’s a lot of work [and] it’s change. But what I’ve learned is, when there’s change, our students adapt the quickest and the best,” Wilson said. “They just figure it out. And that’s what our students have already done within the first week. They’ve already started to figure out where they can go, where they can’t go, what’s the best routes, and so on.”