Hopkinton High School's Student News Site

HHS Press

Hopkinton High School's Student News Site

HHS Press

Hopkinton High School's Student News Site

HHS Press

Watts the Deal: Solar Project Fuels Parking Distress

Jacob Walsh
Construction drills roll out to dig trenches behind the high school. The project started during the summer and was intially set to be finished by November.

Going into the 2023-2024 school year, the town is working on installing solar panels at HMS to provide an environmentally friendly and efficient energy source. The panels will be suspended above the water tower parking lot and most likely will be held by awnings to still allow space for parking.

“It’s actually a two-part project,” explained HHS vice principal Justin Pominville. “There’s one part going behind the middle school and another part going behind the bus parking lot. You’ll see some construction going on out there too because they’re going to be putting [solar panels] up there too.”

Tim Persson, the district’s building and grounds director, oversees the project.

“He’s the one who oversees all the different contractors and construction companies,” Pominville continued. Persson started digging trenches to lay electrical wiring at the beginning of the summer. The construction will continue until early November, which is the projected completion date of the installation. However, Pominville predicts that construction may slow down and take longer than expected due to the colder weather.

Until then, the construction will also be an inconvenience to many students. Students assigned to the water tower parking lot must now park in H-lot, which is about a ten-minute walk from the high school.

Officer Matthew Santoro noticed that this has caused an increase in students not parking in their newly assigned lots.

“There are enough spots for everybody right now, but the problem is having a couple of people park in the wrong place causes a chain reaction of other people having to park in the wrong place,” Santoro said.

To try to combat this problem, Santoro has increased the frequency of ticketing. Nonetheless, some students still fail to comply with parking orders.

“It is unfortunate that the project is going on during the school year,” Santoro remarked, sympathizing with the relocated parkers. “All we can do is hope for some cooperation from the students. I know it’s challenging and people don’t want to park far away, but it is what it is right now.”

“A bunch of Seniors now park in H-Lot,” observed Junior Billy Baker, who has been parking at the school for over a year. “[Due to overcrowding], many Juniors are using the EMC parking lot instead of the parking pass they bought so they can have a closer parking spot to the school.”

Although Baker purchased a $200 parking sticker for J-Lot and K-Lot, he is starting to have second thoughts.

“I have more of a risk of getting stuck behind buses if I park in the J&K Lot, so I would rather park somewhere else,” Baker explained. “I know more students would start to park in their assigned parking if ticketing was more common, but it doesn’t seem to be a problem at EMC.”

Pominville has also shown sympathy with student parkers. He also wants students to recognize that, although the school tries its best to listen to student feedback, there is not much that can be done about the parking situation that has recently been exacerbated by the construction project.

“The school doesn’t get to choose when [the construction] happens,” he explained. “We don’t get to give a ton of input, and it’s the construction company that informs us of their timeline. If we got to choose when it took place, it would have been finished during the summer.”

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