High costs stall umbrella installations

Maia Hito

After the Student Body President promised table umbrellas in the 2014-2015 school year, they are yet to been seen providing much

Students move the lunch table next to a wall to shade themselves from the sun.
Jomari Reyes
Students move the lunch table next to a wall to shade themselves from the sun.

needed shade from the blistering heat.

Although all 20 umbrellas have already arrived on campus ready to be in- stalled, the $9,214.40 installation costs did not come up until after the purchase was made. The fiber-glass umbrellas must be properly bolted into the ground because they are so heavy.

“The amount of money that they told us we would need to pay to get the umbrellas installed is quite high,” Principal Deb Smith said. “I don’t have any extra money to get the umbrellas installed.”

This is the largest purchase the student body has made in the school’s seven-year history. According to Smith, when the district moved the school from the Birmingham Community Charter High School campus to this location, they did not ensure a sufficient number of covered eating areas to protect students from the sun. Other schools within the district have enough covered lunch areas for the student body.

“I’m frustrated that the student body paid a lot of money to have the umbrellas and they’re still just sitting here not even up,” Smith said.

Currently, the school is working through the Board Member Scott Schmerelson office, the district office and even the Parent Teacher Student Association to help fund the installation. Although the situation seems to be at a standstill, Smith is optimistic about having the umbrellas ready to be set up by spring break before the weather starts to heat up.

“It would help us a lot. For me I have physical education before lunch and I am tired,” sophomore Maria Danan said. “We go sit outside and it’s hot and there’s only one tree that covers the tables.”

Getting the umbrellas installed properly is only half the battle. The district must be liable for any potential mishaps or injuries that may occur due to these umbrellas. Hiring outside installers that are not licensed by the district, or are not licensed or insured in general, could get the faculty fired.

Aside from continuing to ask potential supporters to contribute to the cost, Smith has also contacted the district’s Maintenance and Operations to revisit the cost of what they are quoting the school to have the umbrellas installed.

“Could they do better? Could they reduce it? Maybe what we’ll have to do is start putting in five (umbrellas) and then we’ll do five more,” Smith said.

While the umbrellas have avoided installation, it is possible that they will be seen on some of the lunch tables in upcoming months.

“Yeah, I think it’ll be worth it, it would help us a lot,” Danan said.