Engineering students replan better parking lot

Caiden+Williams%2C+12%2C+surveys+parents+in+the+parking+lot+for+his+Engineering+and+Design+capstone+project.+Williams+hopes+to+implement+his+capstone+at+North+in+the+future.

Vivian Landis

Caiden Williams, 12, surveys parents in the parking lot for his Engineering and Design capstone project. Williams hopes to implement his capstone at North in the future.

Vivian Landis, Feature Editor

If you were asked to visualize the North parking lot, what would you think of? Would honking cars, agitated parents, horrendous parking jobs, and crowded lines all be things that came to mind? Seniors Owen Deacy, Jesus Aguilar, Jackson Hatcher, and Caiden Williams are working together on a capstone project to help turn the reputation of the North High parking lot back around.  

Deacy, Aguilar, Hatcher, and Williams are all in a course called Engineering Design and Development together. In this class students are expected to come up with a capstone project and work on it for the entirety of the school year.  

Deacy and Williams started off as a group of two when they came up with the idea to renovate the parking lot together. Aguilar and Hatcher joined the duo a few weeks later after their original groups disbanded.  

Now that the four are all settled in together, they have started collecting data. They first conducted a student survey that asked about what direction students entered the lot from, when they left the parking lot, their general satisfaction with the parking lot, problems they see, and just their overall opinions on the space. 

“I believe we collected 122 responses,” stated Hatcher.  

The group also emailed Dr. Andrew Walters, assistant principal at North, to collect information on how many students ride the bus and own parking passes. They also asked about how many staff members park in the lot.  

“We actually found that we have less parking spaces then our school has parking passes for,” said Williams.  

In total, North has about 308 spots available for student parking, but have sold up to 380 parking passes.  

The four seniors have also started conducting parent surveys. At the end of the school day, the engineering students find parents in the parking lot who are waiting in line to question. 

Aguilar even translates for the parents of ESL students. With Aguilar’s help the group is able to gather evidence they would have missed out on without him. 

It’s really appreciated cause we’d hate to miss out on like valuable input because we can’t speak the same language. So, it’s really cool that Jesus can do that,” said Hatcher. 

Another thing the group did was compare North’s parking lot to Burke’s. They chose this school because the size of both student bodies are similar. They found that Burke’s parking lot had roughly 1,000 parking spots. 

Just goes to show how inadequate our parking lot really is,” stated Hatcher.  

The group has even gone as far as looking at geographical surveys from satellites and setting up a GoPro in room 313. Geographical surveys let them measure the space of each parking spot and see how far away the spaces are from each other. The GoPro is started at 2:30 everyday to record a time lapse that captures the flow of traffic after school. 

Even though it’s still early in the school year the group has already started coming up with solutions that will make the parking lot better. The most feasible solutions include: getting more staff in the lot to direct the traffic and repainting the lines of the parking spaces to maximize the use of space. 

The most extravagant solution would be to pave more space to park or make an alternate parking structure of some sort. 

Even if great solutions are thought out it’s hard to say if any of them will actually be implemented. 

 “The implementation of it in the future depends on how willing we are to stick around and make it happen,” said Hatcher.  

There have been countless of other Engineering and Design capstones that never get brought to the light of day simply because their creators graduate from high school.  This leaves the question of whether the capstone project should be started in a student’s freshman or sophomore year of high school so that they will have plenty of time to make their visions a reality.