The Parking Nightmare at Hellgate

Gabi Wilson, Reporter

     Hellgate students know that one of the school’s biggest issues is parking. If you want to get a good spot in front, you have to show up early. If you show up at the last minute, you will be parking at least a few blocks away. There are no designated spots to park, and there isn’t even a parking lot for students.Other schools in Missoula, like Sentinel, Loyola, and Big Sky, have student parking lots. However, because Hellgate is in the middle of the downtown area, there isn’t really room for one. 

     We wanted to know what students from different schools had to say about parking at their school. Hellgate junior Adarra Decker said, “Parking is absolutely horrible and low key a mess. I usually have to get to school around 15 minutes early so that I make sure I can find a parking spot. I usually park in the same spot unless there is no room, then I just find wherever I can. If my parking spot is taken, then it’s usually pretty hard to find a spot.” 

     Hellgate senior Nina Erving said, “I normally get to Hellgate any time between 9:45 and 9:50, and park in the same general area about a block away. I don’t even try to come closer because it’s useless. You won’t find anything. I never used to drive with the lack of parking spaces, but now I don’t take the city bus because of [COVID-19], so I have to drive. Normally it’s easy, but if I’m running late, it gets harder. Parking is hard but as long as you plan ahead and figure out where you can normally park, you should be okay. Sometimes your morning revolves around getting a spot.” 

     Sentinel senior Preslie Neil said, “The parking at Sentinel is probably better than most schools. Since I’m a senior, I get to park in the senior lot which is really nice because it’s reserved only for seniors and all the students know that. In addition to that, we have two main parking lots: the jock lot and the main parking lot.” 

     Neil continued, “The jock lot is where many athletes and upperclassmen park. The main parking lot is for anyone else. It’s super easy to find a parking spot, and the neighbors of Sentinel let us students park on the streets and in front of their house as long as we are respectful and don’t litter. There is also parking at the front of the school but that is where teachers mainly park. Overall, you don’t have to park far and even if you show up late you can still find a spot.”

     Loyola junior Braden Armstrong isn’t as enthusiastic about his school’s parking situation. He said, “The Loyola parking lot is an absolute joke. You have to pay to park somewhere you already pay to go. There’s not enough spots for all students. I got a spot because I was there in summer to pick it out. There is only one parking lot. In conclusion, the Loyola parking lot sucks.”

     Parking at Hellgate can be extremely difficult for all that attend. Parking during the split schedule was easier than it is now that we are all back together. When there were less people, there were more spaces available. Now that everyone is back, there are hardly any spots. What do you think Hellgate can do to solve this ongoing issue?