Opinion

Lakota's parking inconvenience doesn't make the grade | Nandell Palmer

How I wish that all news could be good news. But I doubt that will be possible as long as humans occupy this planet.

Take, for example, Lakota Middle School — the second largest and newest middle school in the district.

The state-of-the-art architecture and solar-savvy usage make this school stand out. Students must be proud to walk down its hallways.

There are so many other bragging rights that can be parceled out to Lakota. Some of the smartest teachers of this school have gone above and beyond to equip young minds for the future.

Principal Pam Tuggle, Ms. Walls, Mr. Beals, Ms. Braun and Ms. Dooley are but some of the sterling docents in the Lakota faculty. Then there’s the affable and eagle-eyed security officer, Robert Taylor, who is always abreast of everything around him. Students love and respect him to no end.

Lakota is one of two Washington state middle schools offering the prestigious and rigorous Cambridge Program, the other one being Sacajawea in Federal Way.

Thus, the crème de la crème of students are culled from both private and elementary schools to people these institutions.

My three boys have been influenced by the teachings of Lakota’s finest; the last one there is loving every bit of his new school.

Recently he and other seventh-graders put on their annual culture fair. This is undoubtedly the biggest hit each year among proud parents and students alike.

Pupils are asked to choose a country of their birth or ancestry and write about its population, food, contributions to the world, etc., then present it to the public.

I was quite impressed to see those future scholars in action articulating most volubly about distant lands. I have learned so many factoids about India, Malawi, Sweden, Switzerland and Germany. I could go on and on citing encomiums about this landmark school. But like every good family, sometimes we have to deal with the occasional sore thumb — and find remedy fast.

It’s also the familial thing to do to teach our children that in life, we cannot always get everything.

Going to choir concerts and other events at Lakota is my pride and joy. However, it’s quite painstaking to muster the courage to even go when I think about the daunting task of finding a parking spot — especially after the new construction.

Don’t ask me zip about the machination of building construction and engineering. But for a price tag of $34 million, the school could do much better than the 65 parking spots that are there. With a student body of 785 and a staff of 63, the school ought to have more parking spots to meet those growing needs.

Grumblings from parents are about to crescendo to an ear-popping din. People are up in arms over this inconvenience, especially when they were told prior to the school’s opening that there would be ample parking.

Now, disappointment is not the word! A lot of people are all for aesthetics, open spaces and green consciousness, but not at the expense of convenience. Not when cars have to be parked on sidewalks and in area residents’ driveways, blocking ingresses and egresses. Not when parents have to walk nearly a quarter mile back to school after parking on some side street. Not when acres of idle land sit there just for beauty’s sake. At least 50 more parking spaces can be secured from the designated lawn area currently laid out.

I am appealing to the powers that be to bring amelioration to this pressing problem. This dilemma will not go away if left unheeded. And the student body will increase instead of decrease, which means more traffic over time.

Lakota is named for a Native American tribe, and one of its famous quotes is, “Tell me and I will forget. Show me and I will remember. Involve me, and I’ll understand.”

In that Lakota truism, I and other parents look forward to seeing some action in the way of better parking at this beloved school. Involve parents in some of the decision-making processes. They will endeavor to understand. Lakota’s favorable standing among parents can easily merit an A. But an improved parking will definitely skyrocket it to an A-plus. Maybe — just maybe — there’ll be all good news at last fit to print about this good ol’ home of the Falcons.

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