Why some Libertyville High seniors are decorating their parking spots
Libertyville High School's student parking section is unusually colorful this year, thanks to an artistic effort tied to a new carpool program.
Seniors who volunteered to share rides to and from school were allowed to paint reserved parking spots ahead of the new school year. About 40 spots have designs.
One features a silhouette of the Chicago skyline; another has a galactic design and reads, "This is Our Space"; a different one urges passers-by to "Treat People With Kindness."
"Each spot reflects the creativity and personality of the students," Principal Tom Koulentes said.
Administrators launched the painting project to encourage students to carpool. The ongoing construction of a new indoor swimming pool has reduced available parking since the 2017-18 term.
Because of the space limits, student parking has been reserved for seniors who win spots in a lottery. The parking lot at the Brainerd athletic compound east of the school is reserved for seniors, too.
So, seniors who volunteered to share rides were rewarded with reserved, numbered parking spots and the ability to decorate them. They're also entered into monthly drawings for restaurant gift cards.
About 290 seniors drive to school and park on campus each day. More than 170 of them carpool, which resulted in 86 reserved spots. Nearly half have been painted.
Seniors Radu Manea and Annie Ryan are among those who decorated spots. Theirs features a sea turtle and fish.
"I like all the designs," Ryan said. "I think it's really cool."
All the images had to be approved by administrators. Fortunately, none were rejected.
"We are delighted with all of the spots," Koulentes said. "The students took it very seriously, and it is a fun and whimsical part of our campus now."
Select high schools in Indiana, Florida, Texas, Louisiana and other states allow students to paint parking spots, too.
The Libertyville High students used water-based, exterior latex paint to decorate the spots.
Next summer after the school year ends, crews will cover the artwork by sealcoating the pavement.
• Daily Herald staff photographer Steve Lundy contributed to this report.