Students encounter scarce parking, University responds

 

Commuting students are currently facing problems finding parking spots. || Ben McGrath/The News

Meghann Anderson
Staff writer

Students are becoming more vocal about their desire for more parking on campus. With these demands, the University has voted to acquire land for more parking lots past the Science Complex.

The space on Hamilton Avenue was purchased after the University negotiated the price of the space at its appraised value.

Muray State’s campus has 1,290 parking spaces west of 16th Street and Facilities Management is looking to add more parking lots in the next two to three years.

Kim Oatman, chief facilities management officer, said because of the construction of the new Science Complex and Alexander Hall, approximately 300 parking spots were eliminated.

“We haven’t gotten back to the point where we were prior to the construction of the two buildings,” Oatman said. “We are continuing to buy property to gain some more of the spaces back.”

He said every college campus has the problem of too many cars and limited parking spaces.

“We have a big lot at the stadium, but we are trying to find more parking closer to the residential colleges,” Oatman said. “More students have cars than they did 20 years ago; that’s just the culture we live in.”

Oatman said Facilities Management is in charge of building new parking lots on campus, while Public Safety is in charge of zoning the lot once it is built.

President Randy Dunn said buying the land for parking is an investment for a future engineering and physics building.

“Parking over there right now isn’t that bad during the day; you can get spaces and it’s not the case that this was a critical acquisition for the present given parking problems there,” Dunn said. “But on the assumption that the engineering and physics building will go up at the corner of 16th and Olive, then we anticipate that we’re going to need to access additional parking and this is an investment for that purpose since it was available at this point.”

Tracy Roberts, University registrar, said out of the 9,836 students enrolled for the spring semester, 7,407 students commute to campus.

Chelcie Alexander, sophomore from Hardin, Ky., said there are not enough parking spots for commuter students.

“It’s hard to find parking spots in the morning,” Alexander said. “I’ve been late to class before because I couldn’t find a spot in the commuter lot.”

Students and faculty are required to purchase a $50 parking pass at the beginning of every school year with the exception of freshmen whose passes are only $35. Every parking lot has a sign showing what color tags are allowed to park there.

Commuter students are issued a red tag and are only allowed to park in red zones.

“We’re spending our money to go here, and yet we don’t have enough parking,” Alexander said. “Parking garages could be an idea to add more parking for the commuter students.”

Non-commuter students are issued a yellow, brown or purple tag depending on the residential college they live in and whether they are a freshman, or upperclassman.

Joe Weigold, sophomore from Hopkinsville, Ky., said the potholes in the parking lot of Regents College are ruining his tires.

“If the potholes aren’t bad enough, if you leave during the day you are never getting a parking spot when you come back,” Weigold said. “They need to get the commuters their own separate lot.”

Regents and White college have brown and red lots, which means commuter students are allowed to park in the same lot as the residents.

“We get tickets because we have to park in other lots because the commuters take up all our spots during the day,” Weigold said. “They need more parking.”