Gates were added to the lot between the tennis courts and the Terry Cron Multipurpose Athletic Complex (MAC) over the summer by the district to ensure student safety and secure space for band use.
“Vandals had been burning out other school’s band lots and making them unusable for our purposes of rehearsal,” Director Eric Mullins said. “In addition, some of that happened while students were out on the lot.”
Two years prior, the district attempted to restore the same parking lot for the band.
“Within that time, it had been burned out and driven over so much that it was almost impossible to see,” Director Peyton Lea said. “So to get it power washed and repainted, it cost over $15,000.”
Although the gates were installed to prevent prior behavior, Athletic Trainer Ashlyn McGrunder said it makes things more difficult for trainers and athletes.
“The (gates) make it inconvenient to go to and from practice,” she said. “They should leave the first two rows for the athletes and trainers because (band) doesn’t even use the whole lot.”
The decision to close off the entire lot was not up to the band directors.
“I thought it was best to put a chain or barricade across the length of where the light poles are and that would allow a pathway and two full lanes of parking there,” Mullins said. “However, they (the district) did not take that suggestion and closed off the whole parking lot.”
The gates were just one of the many security changes the district made.
“In terms of everything else the district has put in place,” Lee said. “It was to resolve a huge safety and security problem.”