Story by Bailey Bohannon, Contributing writer
More than 100 parking spots have been eliminated from the limited reservoir of parking made available at Murray State because of the construction of the Engineering and Physics Building on 16th Street, according to an email from Jason Youngblood, assistant director of Facilities Management.
Combined with the more than 100 parking spots in the residential college circle lost last semester to the construction of the New Franklin Residential College, parking spots available at Murray State are becoming a scarcity and leaving students, faculty and staff alike scrambling to find a place to pull in and gear shift into park.
Marilyn Harris, lecturer of humanities and fine arts, drives about 40 miles from Paducah, Kentucky, to Murray State to teach her classes.
Harris said this semester she has had to leave her home an hour away several hours early to get a parking spot on campus.
“I have to get here far earlier than I used to, because in order to find a parking place I have to leave the house at about eight,” she said. “I don’t have a class until 12:30.”
Harris said this was the biggest inconvenience to her as a faculty member.
However, faculty members are not the only people on campus affected.
Adam Wade, senior from Leitchfield, Kentucky, said he parks outside of Lee Clark Residential College on a regular basis.
This year though, he has had to park over by the tennis courts and on the other side of the intramural fields more than ever.
“It’s usually always difficult to find a spot whenever school starts back up,” he said. “I’ve had to go out of my way to find a parking spot.”
Allie Roberts, freshman from Woodford County, Kentucky, said she lives on campus as well at Regents Residential College and worries about moving her car at all for fear of losing her space.
“If you leave, you might have to go park in White, especially during the day,” she said. “We all try to not have to move our cars.”
The parking lot at Regents is zoned to allow all parking passes, including residents, commuters and faculty.
Haley Purvis, freshman from Versailles, Kentucky, said she has no choice but to move her car in the middle of the day because she has class off campus at the barns.
“On Mondays and Fridays I have a class 10 minutes after my class at the barns,” she said. “Finding a parking spot just makes me that much later to my next class.”
Along with the complaints and the problems that the lost parking spots have caused, solutions are on several people’s minds.
“Restricted vehicle use helps a lot on big university campuses,” Harris said. “Underclassmen restrictions have helped a lot.”
Harris said the problem with parking on campus is that everybody feels entitled to their own cars, which adds more and more unnecessary vehicles on campus.
“Well, since I’m a freshman, I try and shy away from the ‘no freshman cars on campus,’ rule,” Roberts said. “Honestly, I think the problem during the day is the commuters. If they had their separate parking lot it would be a lot easier for everyone.”
From a senior perspective, Wade said the easiest thing to do would be to make more parking spots. He also suggested an overhaul of the zoning at Murray State.
“I wish that we could use the areas that only a certain color is allowed to use,” he said. “Change the color system. I see so many spots that certain passes can’t be used in.”
Wade believes that because of the lack parking spaces, more students are prone to get parking tickets because they are desperate for spots.
Fingers are pointed in all directions because of the parking crisis on Murray State’s campus this year, but hopefully a solution will be found.
Harris, a 15-year veteran of Murray State, said parking will continue to be a problem at the University until new policies are made.
“Parking is always going to be a problem until someone decides to put their foot down, somewhere,” she said. “Where they are going to put their foot down at, I couldn’t tell you.”