A plan to offer parking for Lambert High School students at the Old Atlanta Recreation Center has stirred discussion among officials.
Forsyth County commissioners and the local school board have agreed on the concept, but the details haven’t been ironed out, said Kristin Morrissey, who represents the district on the board of education.
The proposal would open up 50 spaces for Lambert students at the new county center across Nichols Road, bringing relief to an overflowing high school parking lot.
Morrissey said she gets calls from residents at least once a week on the plan to add student parking at the center, which opened in February.
“Basically, [commissioners] want to lease the property to the school, and then the school system can lease it out to the students,” Morrissey said. “We understand that, and we’re trying to work out the details.”
The vote among commissioners in late June was 3-2 to propose that style of arrangement to the school system.
The dissenting votes, commissioners Pete Amos and Brian Tam, were in favor of the county renting out the spaces individually to students to generate revenue.
The three other commissioners expressed concern about the liability to the county and potential for costly litigation.
“It’s another layer of protection,” Commissioner Patrick Bell said of working through the school system.
Bell added that the county won’t have to pay to monitor whether the permitted students are using the spaces for which they paid.
With the school system at the helm of the agreement, the county won’t be able to select the rate charged for the spaces, said Jerry Kinsey, parks and recreation director.
The parks board proposed $300 for each space to be leased for a school year, Kinsey said, which would total $15,000 annually.
Commissioner Brian Tam said that arrangement would bring in money to the county for empty spaces.
“We built it so we would have extra parking,” Tam said.
The price to Lambert students on campus has been a main issue up for discussion after the commission’s vote.
Principal Gary Davison said he plans to keep the pricing “reasonable” for students, who pay $110 for an on-campus space for a year.
“There’s a vendor near us that sells private parking, which is quite expensive, and I want to do everything I can to keep prices down,” Davison said.
Priority for campus parking is given to seniors and juniors. Students not selected are placed on a waiting list.
The 50 spots at the rec center would open up spots to about a third of wait-listed students, Davison said.
“Anything we can do to help our students is great,” he said. “We’re very appreciative to all the support the county gives us.”
Morrissey said the school system is also working on other solutions to increase parking, including creating more spots on campus or using spaces at nearby Sharon Elementary.