Watching out for kids

Parking issues at OHS with St. Mary’s move to the former Pillsbury Campus


St. Mary’s students wait for the bus

The start of the school year has been quite hectic for St. Mary’s school. About a month before school started, custodians found some classrooms had a pool of wax in the center when they were cleaning. They also noticed in other classrooms the lights were dipping and the reflection was wavy. The school took precautions and decided to get the school checked by an inspector, who informed them they had a flooring issue. St. Mary’s School administrators decided to take the safe option, and they packed everything up and moved across the street from the Owatonna High School to Pillsbury School. Kathleen Segna, the principal at St. Mary’s, said, “We could not have done it without the community, the St. Mary’s community, Owatonna city, the fire department, the police department and the Owatonna businesses that helped us with air exchange, electricity, lighting and our tech support company in Winona, Minnesota.” The whole student body minus the preschoolers are at Pillsbury. The preschool students remain in a safe part of the St. Mary`s building. St. Mary`s wants to be back in their own building as fast as possible, but they do not have a time frame in mind at the moment.

What does this mean for Owatonna High School students and staff? The move means students from the Owatonna High School will not be allowed to park on Academy Street, except for the end farthest from the high school. In previous years, Academy Street has been the main street for student parking. The Owatonna High School does have student parking lots, but the students have to pay and it is first come first serve.
Some students were at the school at four a.m. in the morning the Tuesday before school started just to get a spot in the student parking lots. Unfortunately, the student parking lots do not hold very many cars. There are around 180 parking spots, and the school has approximately 400 students who drive and park at school daily. Junior Alex Gardner said, “Last year, I always parked on Acadamy, so this year I had to find a new street because I didn’t want to pay to park.” At the moment, the lengthy walk students have does not pose much of a problem, but winter is right around the corner, and when the temperature is in the negatives, it will be a problem. Junior Nick Dahle said, “I have to leave my house at 7:25 just to get a decent spot on the street by the practice football fields.” So, students must pack some thick jackets and prepare for a frosty walk this winter. Hopefully, St. Mary’s can get the building fixed in a timely manner, and the OHS students can get some parking spots back.