“Part of the ‘They’re going to use Hoover as a parking lot’ strikes me as quite disingenuous. In actuality, it probably WILL become a parking lot... but the current City parking lot will probably become some type of building. You are just trading spaces. It gets presented as ‘they just want to add parking,’ which I’ve never heard from any Board member or Administrator.”—County Supervisor Rod Sullivan, who voted to close
Hoover as a member of the district’s facilities planning
committee, on social media (ellipse in original)
I’m actually a fan of Rod Sullivan’s, though I think he made a very bad call on closing Hoover. Anyway, he’s not the only person to make a statement like this one, and the statement deserves some scrutiny.
The statement assumes that people in the Hoover neighborhood are being unreasonable—even “disingenuous”—when they say that they do not want to see a parking lot in the space where their elementary school currently is. If only they could understand that it’s not an increase in parking, but just “trading spaces,” that will cause them to suddenly have a parking lot where their school now stands, then they’d feel much better, so it’s really not legitimate for them to focus on the parking lot.
Needless to say, this is not a fair treatment of people’s genuine concerns. Many people in the Hoover neighborhood are rightly upset that they will not only be losing their school, but also “probably” gaining an eyesore and a potential traffic nightmare. To suggest that they just don’t understand or are being disingenuous is a way of dismissing these very real effects on the neighborhood without addressing them.
And what about the assertion that City won’t be adding parking, but just “trading spaces”? In fact, City’s advocates have repeatedly argued that City needs more parking, not just relocated parking. As Sullivan must remember, one of the scenarios presented to the facilities committee included a 750-car parking garage at City, which administrators and at least one board member explicitly argued would be necessary if the City addition were built without closing Hoover. Since City currently has 590 spaces total, it’s very reasonable for people to conclude that a substantial part of the reason for taking Hoover is to add parking to City High.
Finally, do you know how much the City High classroom addition will add to City’s footprint? About 8,400 square feet. That’s about one-half of one percent of City’s land. It would represent about 3% of the Hoover property. There will also be a cafeteria expansion, a wrestling room addition, and additional gym space, so revise that number upward accordingly, and you get -- what, maybe 6% of the Hoover property? So it’s very reasonable for people to conclude that the addition—or whatever it displaces—cannot fully explain the taking of Hoover and its five acres.
I won’t call Sullivan disingenuous, because I think he’s acting in good faith. But he should have more respect for the very reasonable concerns that people have about the Hoover closure.
Numbers: Half of the City High addition will go on top of the existing building, so it’s only the remaining six classrooms that will add to the footprint. I used the six classrooms on the northeast side of the building (which are relatively new construction) to gauge how big the classroom addition would be. Each room is about 26 by 34 feet, and the hallways are 13 feet across. I erred on the generous side by assuming there would be hallways on three sides of the six classrooms. Round everything upwards and you’re at about 8,400 square feet. To get the approximate square footage of the City High and Hoover properties, I used this tool; try it yourself.
(This post was updated to add information about the gym, cafeteria, and wrestling room additions.)