(WITH VIDEO) – “The worst part of my college experience thus far is the parking.”
Kelsey Spillman, senior from Louisville, Ky., vented her frustration after learning that four rows of parking are to be removed from the residential lot on the south side of Hart Residential College.
When construction begins on New Franklin Residential College at the end of March, those rows of parking will be sectioned off with barriers.
New Franklin will be built closer to Hart than the current building, cutting off those parking spaces permanently, even after New Franklin is finished in the fall of 2016.
Jason Youngblood, assistant director of Facilities Management, said there are no plans to add new parking spaces, but students will be asked to use the lot behind the current Franklin Residential College more.
“The lot behind Franklin is being underutilized at the moment,” Youngblood said. “But that lot can be used by students during the project and after.”
The focus of the University shouldn’t be on new housing, it should be on parking lots, Spillman said.
The influx of students from Mid-Continent University closure last year threw the student-to-parking space ratio out of whack, she said.
“It’s so frustrating, because they took in all these people from Mid-Continent and they weren’t prepared in the parking lots or in the dorms,” Spillman said.
An education major, Spillman said the parking situation is particularly hard on those who have to drive to off-campus classes.
Spillman had to drive to her assigned school at 6 a.m. for her practicum. When she would return to campus later in the day, she couldn’t find a free parking space on the residential side.
“The other day I got a ticket for parking at (the Curris Center),” she said. “I parked there late in the day and took a risk because I couldn’t find another yellow spot. I can’t imagine how difficult is for (agriculture) majors. They have to drive to the farms.”
Erin Potts, sophomore from Louisville, Ky., said the solution is simple: first-year freshmen shouldn’t get yellow tags, whether they meet the 30 credit yellow-tag requirement or not.
Currently, freshmen living on campus are assigned a purple tag unless they’re living in Regents Residential College or White Residential College – they’re assigned brown.
According to Potts, exemptions are made.
“Sometimes the freshmen come in with credits that bump them up,” she said. “My little (sorority sister) came in with enough credits and they bent the rules for her.”
Comparatively, the $75 students pay for a year-round parking permit is a drop in the bucket to the $264 students at the University of Kentucky are faced with, or up to $590 at the University of Louisville.
Public Safety and Emergency Management is working in conjunction with Facilities Management to come up with viable plans to deal with the parking shortage, said Roy Dunaway, interim chief of Public Safety.
“There are multiple plans in the works,” Dunaway said. “There will be parking.”
Story by Amanda Grau, News Editor