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The Student News Site of Sunny Hills High School

The Accolade

The Student News Site of Sunny Hills High School

The Accolade

Repaved west parking lot, bigger signs curb student motorists from occupying staff slots

Image used with permission from Jessica Rosales
A worker from the Fullerton Joint Union High School District installs one of the many new staff parking signs featuring the “SH” logo on poles in the campus west parking lot. The signs — measuring 18 inches wide and 24 inches high — were put up at the end of May before finals week of the spring semester. School officials wanted them bigger to improve visibility since the previous ones measured only a foot wide and 18 inches high.

Newly painted slots for teachers and bigger “STAFF PARKING ONLY” signs have curbed the number of student drivers leaving their cars in the front end of the west lot this school year.

“I like that I can find parking no matter what time I get here,” said science teacher Alexander Hua, who uses the west parking lot because his classroom is in the 110s wing. “It’s been nice not having to worry about that when I get to work.”

Hua was referring to the 2022-2023 school year when many faculty and staff who parked in the west lot outside of the 10s, 30s, 50s, 70s, 90s, 110s and 130s wings experienced issues with students’ vehicles occupying spots designated, “STAFF.”

Many teen motorists last year parked in those slots because the “STAFF” and “STUDENT” markings had faded, making it difficult for students to differentiate between their assigned spaces.

“If I didn’t get to school right by 8:30 a.m. [last school year], then I had no spots to park in because they were all taken up by students,” said dance teacher Leiana Volen, whose classroom is in the 130s building.

Once the lot got new markings, school officials had originally planned to redesignate all parking near the 10s, 30s and 50s wings to students and the middle of the lot for staff, adding five more student spaces and placing five staff spaces at the end of the lot.

But that project didn’t start until the weekend of Saturday-Sunday, April 29-30; when students and staff returned to school on Monday, May 1, they discovered the designated parking plans had changed with “STAFF” painted in all the slots up to the 130s building; “STUDENT”-labeled slots were painted into the area at the far end of the lot.

After school officials asked the Fullerton Joint Union High School District in the fall semester to schedule the west parking lot for repainting of each slot, the project did not get completed until the spring semester at the end of April. Many student and staff drivers who returned to campus in May were surprised to see that student-designated spots were moved to the back of the lot.

While considering previous traffic routines in the west parking lot, administrators determined they needed to make adjustments because it was constantly full.

“We found that by reducing the number of students in [the front of the west lot], the traffic flow of pick-up and drop-offs is much quicker,” said assistant principal Sarah Murrieta, who’s in charge of campus facilities.

During the last week of May, district officials sent a two-man crew to install 18-inch-wide-by-24-inch-high half black-half white signs; the top part features the SH logo in yellow with a black background and the bottom section states, “STAFF PARKING ONLY,” on a white background. The new signs, manufactured by School Fix, are much larger than the old ones measuring 12-inch-wide-by-18-inch-high.

“The other signs were really small,” Murrieta said. “We wanted something that, when you pull into the parking lot, you can see and not have any question of where to park.”

Six of the recently added signs are currently posted on poles throughout the west lot; only one of the old signs remains on the pole closest to the 50s wing.

According to the Lancer Handbook, a PDF file that’s available for viewing on the school website, student drivers who choose to disregard the parking guidelines may face a variety of consequences, ranging from verbal warnings to having their car towed.

“We need to know if it’s a student, staff member or visitor [in the lot],” Murrietta said. “It’s very important for school safety to designate those areas with other parking.”

Many student motorists who use the west lot said they do not like the notion of parking so far away from the main part of the campus.

Junior Abdulsalam Lee said the new signs will not affect his choices.

“I would park in staff parking again,” said Lee, who left his car in staff-designated parking in the west lot toward the end of the last school year because the student slots were full. “It saves so much time because I wouldn’t have to walk so far to and from my car since student parking is now a distance away from my classrooms.”

Junior Kenneth Root said he used staff parking spaces before the repainting of the lot.

“If student parking was full, then yes, I would park in staff [parking spaces] because if I am late, I don’t want to be more late going around the school to park in the [east] lot,” Root said. “I think parking should be a free-for-all [as in previous years] because that’s how it is in the real world.”

Senior Eden Buell, who has used the west lot’s student parking daily since last year, agrees with her peers’ concerns.

“Every day when I drive by the staff parking, I see that not all of the spots are filled, and then you just come over [to the student parking area], and it’s packed,” Buell said. “I feel like it’s really unfair that the staff gets a lot more parking than we do when they don’t fill up the spaces.”

However, the senior said she has never parked in staff spaces and would make it a goal not to so she can avoid risking the consequences if she were caught.

To further ensure that people park where they should, the FJUHSD Human Resources department provides permit stickers and passes labeled “SHHS STUDENT” and “FJUHSD STAFF” to those with parking permits and requires drivers to place them on the vehicle’s windshield.

“[The signs] just kind of go in line with keeping our facilities in nice, upgraded condition where students are proud to be here, parents want to be here and our community is proud of our school,” Murrietta said.

The consequences for student drivers who do not have a permit sticker on their windshield are the same as the consequences for parking in staff or visitor parking, enforced by the Fullerton Police Department.


While district officials had the east lot resealed in 2021 after solar panel ports were installed outside the Performing Arts Center [PAC], they ordered more upgrades this past summer.

In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act to provide easy access to those on wheelchairs, officials contracted with Universal Asphalt to widen the sidewalks from four to eight feet and create an accessible path to and from the student drop-off area.

Ted Walstrom, the district’s director of facilities and maintenance & operations, said when facilities are built before new ADA codes or regulations, they do not need to be changed to comply with the act until their lifespans are reached.

The $900,000 project also included the complete repaving and repainting of the east lot because it reached its 25-year lifespan.

The student drop-off area now features four small ramps added for accessibility 100 feet apart from each other on the sidewalk next to the baseball field leading to the asphalt.

“Ten years ago there were no requirements for drop-off,” Walstrom said. “You could have a curb and sidewalk, and kids could get out [of cars] at the curb.”

Other ADA-related changes to the lot include the installation of yellow bumps that warn the visually impaired when they reach the end of sidewalks; they can also be found in front of new accessible parking spots near the front of the school that feature wider spaces for students with disabilities to enter or exit vehicles.

Sophomore Faith Won, the only wheelchair user on campus, said she used the sidewalk once before the change and noticed she had to go down to the area where the SH agriculture classes take place before she could reach the pavement.

However, after using the expanded sidewalk and new ramps, Won said she could definitely feel the difference.

“I like that it got wider for sure,” she said. “It was also really nice because I didn’t have to go a very long way to get down from the curb.”

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Julie Jung, Staff Reporter
After completing Journalism 1 in her freshman year, sophomore Julie Jung joins The Accolade as a staff reporter for the 2023-2024 school year. Although Jung previously found interest in writing feature stories, she hopes to gain more experience in other elements of journalism and make new connections with peers throughout her time in The Accolade. Outside of school, Jung likes to spend time with friends and family and play games.
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