First graduating class paints parking spots

In order to raise money for prom and other activities, seniors were granted the opportunity to paint their parking spots over the summer. Assistant Principal Jill English spearheaded the project, seeking special permission and organizing financial details. According to her, the district has a larger role than people may think.

“We had to get permission from ISC,” she said. “It’s an administration for the school district. The parking spots don’t belong to Bridgeland High School; they belong to Cy-Fair Independent School District, so we had to get district permission.”

On top of giving approval, the district also received some of the profits from the parking spots. Painted spots cost $125. According to Mrs. English, $50 went to the district for maintenance costs and the other $75 went to the senior class prom fund.

Despite the cost, many students showed enthusiasm to start the new senior tradition. Senior Kensie Garner was especially grateful for the opportunity to design something unique.

“I was really excited because I love having the opportunity to kind of like display my personality and things about myself onto my parking spot,” Garner said. “Like, whatever picture you chose to paint on there kind of displays like a little bit more about yourself and so people can know more about who you are.”

Hours went into painting and designing, and all the hard work definitely didn’t go unnoticed. After viewing some of the spots, Principal Mike Smith was very impressed with the turnout.

“I think they’re just as cute as can be. And I think that students, and the parents spent a lot of time to create some really neat paintings out there. So overall, I think it really adds character to the parking lot,” Principal Smith said.

Although the idea was a huge hit among students and parents, it won’t be an annual senior tradition. The district shed light on several complications painting can cause and said damages occurring over time outweigh the fun.

“The ultimate decision is mine, but I do get guidance from the district. There’s assistant superintendent, Mr. [Matt] Morgan, who’s over the grounds and facilities. And what he did is he just explained to me the wear and tear pressure washing does on the blacktop of the cement that you’re painting on,” Principal Smith said. “So one, tiny pressure washing, no big deal. But if you start pressure washing year after year, it’s actually going to cause us to have to replace the parking lot sooner than we normally would have to, and we just need to be a good steward of district funds and district resources.¨ 

On top of expenses and damage from pressure washing, several other issues arise. Assistant Superintendent Matt Morgan oversees projects like these and after looking into the logistics behind painting, realized all the things bound to go awry.

“Removing the paint can be difficult and may damage the parking lot surface. In many instances, the striping is removed during this process and the parking lot must be restriped,” Morgan said. “Paint buildup, from allowing previously painted spaces to be painted over, can create maintenance issues as well. Paint buildup can create an uneven surface leading to puddling, and if the correct type of paint isn’t used the paint will bubble and peel off. In addition, without proper oversight of the painting process, the parking spaces may not remain a uniform size.”

Painted parking spots will remain a fun memory and experience for the first graduating class.

“My favorite part of the process was definitely having all of my friends help me and just spending time together and listening to music and having a good time, it was a really great way to start my senior year,” Garner said.

Principal Smith is happy that seniors had this one year to paint, but he’s looking forward to seeing what long-standing, truly “Bridgeland” traditions form as the first year with seniors continues.

“We did like that we got to do this for the seniors. And we thought especially for that first graduating class, what a great, great way to celebrate,” he said. “You know, we’ve already started some of the traditions that they’ve done at other schools. But I think for us to be unique, I think the student bodies are going to have to come up with something that represents them as our tradition because even the painting, I think it’s wonderful and I love it, but there’s other schools have done this, right? You know, it’s not unique to Bridgeland. So don’t know. I think that’s something we need to think about.”