Tuscaloosa City Schools open parking lots for game days, raise money for school programs

Tuscaloosa City Schools open parking lots for game days, raise money for school programs

Game day at The University of Alabama is a time of excitement, but getting there can be a time of frustration. Parking can be troublesome on gameday, so two Tuscaloosa City schools will once again be opening their parking lots on gamedays in order to offer patrons an extra parking option.

Central High School and Tuscaloosa Magnet School Middle will both begin opening their parking lots for the Saturday, Sept. 9, the home game opener against Fresno State.

“We have taken part in game day parking since 2010,” said Kristi Thomson, principal of Tuscaloosa Magnet School Middle.

The middle school charged $10 a vehicle in previous years, but starting with Saturday’s game will charge $20. 

“We normally park around 100 cars each game, but can easily handle up to 200,” Thomson said. “Many of our customers are repeat customers. We hand out fliers to let them know exactly where their money is going, and I think for them that makes all the difference.”

Tuscaloosa Magnet School Middle uses the funds created during home games to provide teachers with education opportunities.

“I like to be able to send my teachers to different conferences around the country so that they are truly prepared to provide the best possible education for our students,” Thomson said.

Central High School has been participating in gameday parking for over 20 years and has used the funds to improve multiple programs at the school.

They charge $20 for vehicles and $175 for RVs.

“Four years ago we were trying to find ways to improve retention rates so we decided to use the funds generated from game day parking to allow our students to dual enroll at Shelton State Community College and Alabama State University,” said Principal Clarence Sutton. “This year we have added Stillman College to the list of options for our students.”

Last year, 11 percent of graduating seniors left with 12 or more credit hours earned from one of the colleges. This year they have 20 percent of the 11th and 12th graders participating in the dual enrollment program.

Before the funds became allotted for dual enrollment, Central High School used gameday parking to improve their athletics departments.

Kristen Essman, a junior accounting major, agrees that Central High School is doing something great for their students.

“What Central High School is offering their students is something I wish I had been offered when I was in high school,” Essman said. “To have the opportunity to leave high school with college credits would have made my transition to college a lot easier. I am more likely to park at the high school on game days knowing that my money is going to give students an opportunity I wish I had been given.”


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