Puyallup Herald

Puyallup High adds land in effort to alleviate parking crunch

Finding parking is always a bear, but even more so when 1,870 Puyallup High School students and staff are competing for 381 parking spots.

In an effort to ease that problem, the Puyallup School District is looking into purchasing land across the street from the school last month for more parking.

Students currently park on neighborhood and downtown streets, but the walk back to the school can be long and neighborhoods fill up for the entire school day. Neighbors have complained when students park in driveways and block in residents, Dawn Elms with the high school said.

Only juniors and seniors are allowed to vie for the parking lottery of over 270 slots.

“It’s a commodity that’s for sure,” Elms said.

Puyallup’s school board voted last month to pay $750,000 to Immanuel Lutheran Church for about 100 new parking spots.

“We’re not going to move the needle in a large way, but we’re doing everything that we can do,” facilities manager Brian Devereux said.

Three of the six parcels bought by the school district are already parking lots. The school previously leased them for staff parking, but now there is an assurance the land stays a parking lot, Devereux said.

More parking is a priority in the school district’s bond proposal for the high school. The bond redesigns the school district’s high schools with security as a priority. Puyallup High would see a consolidation from portables and several entrances to a single building with one main entrance.

Board members have yet to vote on the proposal and select a date for the ballot box. The church land purchased last month will have to wait until the bond bill passes to see construction for parking. Funds to convert the grassy plots are folded into the bond proposal.

The school district’s other high schools do not have the same parking space scarcity. Emerald Ridge has 680 stalls for more than 1,400 students and Rogers has 580 for 1,880 students, with an additional 250 at the neighboring Heritage Recreation Center.

Josephine Peterson covers Pierce County and Puyallup for The News Tribune and The Puyallup Herald. She previously worked at The News Journal in Delaware as the crime reporter and interned at The Washington Post.