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School Board wants to add 62 parking spaces at Western Albemarle High School

The Albemarle County school division is once again planning to expand parking at Western Albemarle High School.

The $473,000 project would add 62 parking spaces to the school’s upper lot, division spokesman Phil Giaramita said. The additional parking could be available by next July at the earliest if the Board of Supervisors approves the appropriation.

“The site review and permitting process is a lengthy one,” Giaramita said.

The school’s student newspaper, The Western Hemisphere, has written several times about concerns about the lack of parking availability.

Western Albemarle had 30% less parking than Albemarle and Monticello high schools, according to a 2019 division report. Its lot also doesn’t meet state guidelines that recommend student parking should accommodate one-third of the student enrollment.

Western had 1,152 students enrolled in the 2021-21 school year and that number is expected to drop to 1,116 in the coming school year.

In August 2019, the School Board approved a plan to add 55 parking spaces at WAHS in order to accommodate current and future demand for the already overcrowded lot. At the time, division staff recommended using leftover funds from the 2016 bond referendum to complete the project.

That plan ultimately didn’t move forward after the Board of Supervisors questioned the use of referendum funds.

Now the money is coming out of a $5 million contingency fund included in the fiscal year 2023 capital budget. Division staff proposed last week to move $473,000 from the fund to the parking project, among other budget amendments.

About $2 million of the fund is going toward the construction of a new high school center, which now is expected to cost $34.5 million, according to the presentation. Another $665,950 is going to the expansion of Mountain View Elementary in anticipation of increased costs.


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