Students say administration should respond to parking perils

Only one parking space remains in the student parking lot at the Harrison Plaza entrance. Students said they face parking problems on a regular basis and wish the administration would do more to address their concerns.

Officials said parking is a continual problem on most college campuses, but students say UNA should step away from the curb.

Students face the parking problem daily.

“I heard that they were going to tear down Floyd Hall once the new science building is finished and put a parking deck there,” said Senior Austin Oldag.

However, officials said building a new parking deck is costly.

“The average cost for a structured deck is anywhere between $12,000 and $15,000 per space, said Vice President for Business and Financial Affairs Clinton Carter. “It adds up very, very quickly.”

Recent construction of the new science building has caused students to question UNA’s agenda and spending in relation to parking.

“I think that if UNA can afford to build a new science building, then they should be able to build a new parking deck,” said junior Faith Coogler.

Sophomore Justus Montgomery said he think campus administrators should pay more attention to student concerns.

“I think that parking is one of the biggest issues on campus right now because every single student has a problem with it. We have voiced our complaints many, many times, and the university has yet to do anything about it,” Montgomery said.

Students not only have to find a parking spot, but they also have to make sure the space is legal.

“I have to park at Subway on Court Street,” said student Ginny Eddy. “I have already gotten parking warnings at a bank and a church.”

Carter said parking is on the university’s agenda.

“Parking is very, very high on our priority list,” Carter said. “Unless something significant changes, we probably won’t be building any more parking decks in the near future.”

A new parking deck is part of the university’s master plan, which includes a 25-year outlook for construction of new buildings on campus, said Vice President for Student Affairs David Shields.

Shields said the company that designed the university master plan identified two possible locations for a new parking deck behind Flower’s Hall and behind the GUC.

“The master plan is if we looked into the future 25 years, what could we do,” he said. “Most universities have a 15 to 25-year outlook for their campus.”

Currently no time frame has been identified for the construction of a new deck, Shields said.

Carter said there are other more affordable parking options besides a parking deck.

The two types of parking are surface parking and structured parking. The cost for a surface parking lot is much cheaper than a parking deck, he said.

University officials say they believe the current parking plan is the most economic for now.

“It would be a lot cheaper to continue doing business the way we’re doing, but it would be much more efficient to build a new parking deck,” said UNA Police Chief Bob Pastula. That would be better for students, faculty and staff.”

Each student is charged a $24 transportation fee along with his or her tuition every semester.

“It pays for parking spaces, buses, parking stickers — it basically pays for everything that has to do with parking,” Pastula said.

Satellite parking lots are available for students on Darby Drive in front of Big Lots and at Woodmont Baptist Church. Buses run four times per day to transport students to and from campus.

More than 6,500 students have ridden the buses from the Darby parking lot since the beginning of the semester, Shields said.

UNA also pays for students to park in the Florence Parking Garage on Tennessee Street. There are 170 spaces available for student use. These spaces cost $6 per month per space, totaling about $1,020 per month, Pastula said.

“The only satellite deck that UNA pays for is the Florence parking deck. The church parking lots and the Darby lot are free,” he said.

Editor’s note: News Editor Ashley Remkus contributed to this report.