After a rough first week that saw internet and water go down in portions of ABAC Place, it seems students across campus now have a new bone to pick: parking.
“It is the biggest issue from students on this campus,” Lt. Chris Stephens of the ABAC Police Department said.
“We never know how many total number of students we’ve got coming until right at the beginning of the semester,” Lt. Stephens said.
This year was especially hard to predict as enrollment is at a five year high, on campus living is up 15 to 20 percent, and the agriculture department just reached 1,000 enrollees. Many of the complaints coming in originate in the parking lot adjacent to the ag buildings.
ABAC officers have been writing tickets to students who have been parking in visitor parking as well as the grassy areas surrounding the parking lot. Lt. Stephens says students have other options.
“You can look in the south parking lot and there are still places available down there,” Lt. Stephens said. “It boils down to students just not wanting to walk the distance from the south lot to the north side of campus.”
Lt. Stephens says his officers began writing tickets last Monday and will now be patrolling the offenders. Students are also no longer to back into parking places. This is to allow clearer sightlines to officers on patrol. Backing into a parking space or parking in grassy areas can result in a $30 fine.
Parking in the faculty lot adjacent to the dining hall and library between the hours of 7 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. can result in a $50 fine.
Those students living in ABAC place apartments now have an interesting parking alternative available to them. Starting Monday, seniors and juniors who have registered through ABAC housing and the police dept. will now be allowed to occupy the “Premier Parking” in the south ABAC 200 lot that sits at the fork between Stallion Lane and Faculty Road.
“Premier Parking is designed to give upper class students the opportunity for a perk for living on campus more than two years,” Dr. Christopher S. Kinsey, Director of Residence life, said.
“It gives them the advantage of knowing they’ll have a space in a parking lot available,” Kinsey said.
Students who signed up should have both the normal Place decal on their vehicle as well as a Premier Parking decal. Students found in the parking lot anytime 24/7 without these decals are subject to a $30 fine.
Though it helps students living in the 200 building to constantly have a parking spot, Premier Parking may not relieve any of the stressed parking around the apartments. Students who have a spot in Premier Parking are not required to park only there; they may still park anywhere they want.
“We encourage the students in the evenings to make sure they park in Premier Parking because they could be taking up two spots,” Kinsey said. “If that person goes home for a long weekend, then that spot just stays open.”
Neither Lt. Stephens nor Dr. Kinsey could comment on reports of talks surrounding opening up a few unused spots in the Faculty lot in the future as well as adding more spots around campus and taking away motorcycle parking.
Lt. Stephens did say that for the campus to continue growth toward a four year university, something had to be done. “We’ll cross that bridge when we get to it,” Lt. Stephens said.
As for now, students struggling to find parking around Lakeside, Place and the north and south lots, Kinsey says try not to move your car.
“There are parking spaces available. They’re not always going to be in what would be the most continent locations,” Kinsey said. “I’d recommend the residential students to keep your car parked where it is.”