Historic Atlanta high school to get more parking ... but not everyone is happy

ATLANTA — Parking is an issue at Atlanta’s Grady High School, and now there’s a plan to add a lot more -- but not everyone is thrilled by it.

Some people worry more parking will take away from the historic school, which was built in 1924.

Channel 2's Richard Elliot talked to Britney Hall as she was registering her daughter, Sanai, for her first year at Grady High School.

“She’ll be a freshman,” Hall said.

It was Hall’s first time visiting the school, and she immediately noticed a lack of parking.

“Where’d you park? Did you have any trouble?” Elliot asked Hall.

“Yes, actually. I didn’t really know where to park. We parked over there around the corner somewhere,” Hall said.

Atlanta Public Schools knows there’s a problem, too.

Using its student-teacher-visitor formula, a report shows Grady is supposed to have nearly 700 parking spaces.


But it only has 174, so now APS plans to add parking along Charles Allen Drive.

One of the parking lots would go where the traditional front lawn at the high school currently sits. The architects said they want to save as many of the older trees as they can, but they admit some of them will have to come down.

Atlanta Public Schools said it plans to replace every single tree it removes.

“I don’t think it’s a good idea,” Daniel Morgan said.

Morgan went to Grady back in the '80s. He thinks they should leave the front lawn for students, not cars. But he acknowledges parking is an issue.

“I do understand the parking situation, but it, just to me, it serves a better purpose for the kids than it would if it was just cleared out for parking,” Morgan said. "I really think it takes away from the history of Grady. I mean, Grady has always had that big lot, the big area out front where, you know, kids at lunchtime hang out."

Atlanta Public Schools sent Channel 2 Action News the following statement:

"The goal of the expansion to the campus at Grady High School is to relieve overcrowding, eliminate classroom portables, and add to the school’s parking capacity. The year-long design process for the project included a design committee, which included Grady parents and teachers, and held regular meetings where public input was welcomed. Atlanta Public Schools takes great pride in the fact that the current design respects Grady’s natural environment while adding a total of nearly 90 much-needed parking spaces for the school’s faculty, staff and visitors. 
"The project is scheduled to begin in the winter of 2020, with an anticipated completion date of Fall 2021."