LAKEWOOD, Colo. – When searching for a home, an important factor for many families is the “quality of” and “distance to” local schools.
However, neighbors living around Lakewood High School (LHS) claim the proximity and student overflow is ruining their quality of life.
Back in February, Lakewood City Council members met with the Jefferson County Public School Board in February to discuss parking and circulation around LHS.
On Saturday, frustrated neighbors told Denver7 more needs to be done — and soon.
High school overflowing with students
The high school was developed in the 1950s and was meant to serve approximately 900 students. Far less than the current enrollment for the 2017-2018 school year, which stands at 2,123 students, with 1,204 being “choice-in” students from outside the LHS attendance area. Currently, LHS has 404 student parking spaces.
Because of this, students have relied on parking in the surrounding neighborhoods, clogging streets during carpool hours.
“Lakewood is the largest school in Jefferson County — the largest high school — and along with that, it's on the smallest footprint of land,” Ward I Councilwomen Ramey Johnson said.
Johnson pointed out it’s that footprint that separates LHS from other district schools.
“I mean, our schools on average are almost 50-years-old,” Tim Reed pointed out. “That means they were designed and built in a totally different time.”
Reed is the Executive Director of Facilities and Construction Management at Jefferson County Public Schools.
He’s referring to a time when LHS was built to serve roughly 900 students.
“It has an extremely negative impact on my life," said resident Michele Bower. "I work from home.”
Bower shares a street with LHS. She shared pictures that apparently illustrate the parking issues that are presented when the fields are in use on the weekend.
“The easiest access is on this street, to the baseball field,” she said.
Bower claimed players, parents and spectators disregard signs along her street that instruct drivers to use the school lot during evening and weekend events.
She said once they park, there is no room for residents.
“You can imagine the amount of people that is, and the amount of cars that come," another neighbor, Brian Weishaar, told Denver7.
Reed said the district is doing its part and will re-stripe the school lot to include 100 more spaces for students. Re-striping will take place this summer before a next phase is considered.
“Before we take the next step, which would be actually taking a look at adding, physically adding, additional parking to the site,” Reed said.
Until then, neighbors and council members will have to simply sit and wait to see whether the extra spots help.
“I think that they are, in a way, setting the pace for the way the school district is going to have to start to look at the impacts that they're having on residential neighborhoods," Council member Johnson said.