PCHS students have unique Sundance experience
With the out-of-town masses filling Park City for the Sundance Film Festival, securing a place to park throughout town will be a tall task. For some Park City High School students, that presents a chance to make a profit.
PCHS students can sell their parking passes back to the high school for $60 for the duration of the film festival. The school then sells them to out-of-towners looking for a convenient place to park near the Eccles Center, which is one of the primary venues for Sundance film screenings.
PCHS principal Bob O’Connor said that with so many people coming to see films at the Eccles Center, parking is always an issue during Sundance. Having students sell back their passes and agree to park elsewhere during the festival helps clear some of that congestion.
"Sundance is coming and we’re not going to stop that," he said. "As everyone in town knows, the Eccles is a main venue, and the high school already has limited parking. We don’t have enough parking for all of our students, and we have an overflow parking behind the building."
As of Friday, 39 students had sold their passes, O’Connor said. But even the ones who haven’t may find themselves left out in the cold when it comes to parking — just without $60 in their pockets.
"Even the kids who don’t sell their parking pass back, there’s a clause in the parking permit form that they fill out, and it clearly states that you are not guaranteed a parking spot during Sundance," O’Connor said. "So it’s a little incentive for the kids that are willing to give up their spot."
Battling the crowded parking lot won’t be the entirety of PCHS students’ Sundance experience, however. O’Connor said it’s a favorite pastime of students to scour Main Street for celebrities. Participants in the festival also come to the school, for the Filmmakers in the Classroom Program. The program gives PCHS students the chance to attend screenings of several short films in the high school’s lecture hall.
"Our kids love that stuff," O’Connor said. "We’ll have activities going on here through the course of the day. Filmmakers, actors will be sharing information and discussing their films with our students. We’re pretty fortunate to have the opportunities that we do."
In the end, O’Connor said, those opportunities are worth a crowded parking lot.
"It is a little bit of a hassle to get in and out of the lot, and the crowds here," he said, "but in terms of the revenue it brings the school, the Park City Institute and the entire town and county, it’s worth putting up with."