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The Student Newspaper of Hopkins School

Students Seize Spots in Siberia

Katherine Takoudes ’20 Senior Features Editor
For decades, upperclassmen have driven themselves Hopkins.
However, in recent years, student spots in Forrest and Siberia gained popularity, culminating this year, where student parking spots filled up less than a month into the 2019 - 2020 school year.

Out of the four parking lots on campus - Thompson, Knollwood, Forest, and Siberia - students park in two: Forrest and Siberia. Typically, seniors are assigned spots in Forrest and in the front of Siberia, while juniors are given spots in the back of Siberia.

In order to obtain a parking spot on campus, students must submit a copy of their license, current insurance, and pay $115 for each Term of parking. In an email to the Classes of 2020 and 2021 last May, Assistant Head of School John Roberts explained the process for spot eligibility: “Everyone who submits a
completed application by August 1 is eligible for the best spaces. [Karen] Silk and I will meet sometime in early August and simply do a ’draft’ for who gets what. We will assign spaces to the rising seniors first and move to the rising junior class after all eligible seniors have been assigned to a space. We continue to assign spaces throughout the year and until the parking inventory is all used up.”

Roberts continued, “there is no advantage for getting the forms in by May 2 - but there is a disadvantage if you haven’t completed the process by August 2.”
Senior Amanda Leone ’20 turned in her parking forms as soon as they were sent out. She explained: “I submitted my parking application the day after it was released, just to be on the safe side so that I could get a good spot. I was assigned to spot 208 at the front of Siberia, which is perfect for heading up to morning assemblies and leaving practices in the evening.”

Luca Breahna ’20 submitted his form two weeks before school started, and was assigned to spot 273, near the middle of Siberia. “I honestly love walking up from Siberia because as you head through the parking lot, you see all of your friends getting out of their cars, and get to join them on your walk to campus.”

Students who did not submit their parking applications over the summer or at the beginning of the year were unable to get a spot on campus for the 2019-2020 school year. In an email on September 27 to the Classes of 2020, 2021, and 2022, Roberts explained “with amazement” that he assigned every student parking spot on campus. “Typically, student parking spaces are not fully assigned until May... I do not know what conditions caused the spots to be taken so fast - I only know that there are no additional on-campus spots for students.”

“It seems that a lot of members of the Class of 2021 are driving this year, and therefore need a parking spot. I know many juniors — [myself] included — got
their licenses in late August or early September and were able to get some of the last on-campus spots.”

The history of crowded student parking dates back decades, beginning with the 1972 Day Prospect Hill and Hopkins Grammar School merger, which resulted in a larger study body on the Forrest Road property. A Razor article titled “Land Purchase to Relieve Crowding and Provide Area for Future Construction” from October 6, 1972 explained the purchase of a new wooded area, which decades later is now home to both the Forest and Siberia parking lots: “[the land] will serve to eliminate much of the overcrowding problem caused by the merger, and will provide an area for future development.”

A second Razor article from November 22, 1972 titled “Students Participate in Clearing Project for Road to Alleviate Traffic Congestion” elaborated on the purchased plot of land. Students helped Headmaster F. Allen Sherk “widen a path through the woods... in the hope of eventually constructing a road to relieve the crowded traffic.”

In 1988, Siberia was born. Head Advisor of the Class of 2020 Scott Wich ’89 explained the story behind Siberia: “Siberia was added during my junior year to create more parking spaces on campus. Its name was coined shortly after, as walking to your spot that far away felt like a trek to Siberia.” School Psychologist Josh Brant ’88 thinks the current parking process is similar to when he was a student: “Kids were assigned a parking spot and you progressively move closer to school as your seniority increased. The teachers parked in the Lovell...and DPH [now Thompson] lot[s]. All the students parked in the Knollwood lot, but it was much smaller then. There was no Siberia.”

Every year, a few seniors are assigned to the parallel parking spots in between Forrest and Siberia, at the base of the hill leading up to the back of the Athletic Center.

Josh Seidner ’20 explained the accessibility of having a parallel parking spot: “It alleviates the pressure of parking. I can just pull into a spot and go. And with its proximity to morning assemblies and easy accessibility, I would happily argue that parallel spots are the best on campus.” Chloe Smith ’20 agreed with Seidner and highlighted how “one of the best parts of a parallel spot is not having to deal with parents’ cars backing up when leaving after practice.”

Zuse summed up the sentiment felt by many student drivers on campus. “I am just as confused as Roberts as to how all the parking spots filled up so quickly. Maybe we should have added another parking lot when we built the track,” she joked. Roberts agreed: “I wish we had a million more spots. How about we put a parking garage under the tennis courts next to Thompson Hall parking lot! Imagine a two level garage so that the tennis courts are on the garage roof and are at the same elevation as the quad!”
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The Razor's Edge reflects the opinion of 4/5 of the editorial board and will not be signed. The Razor welcomes letters to the editor but reserves the right to decide which letters to publish, and to edit letters for space reasons. Unsigned letters will not be published, but names may be withheld on request. Letters are subject to the same libel laws as articles. The views expressed in letters are not necessarily those of the editorial board.
     
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