Post Classifieds

Parking garage solution to students' parking woes

By Bradley Stringfield
On February 27, 2013

Recently a lot of problems have been addressed here on campus, but the one issue that is slowly driving us to a state of insanity is the lack of available parking spots for the increasing amount of students.

After the recent floral additions to campus, the energy efficient lights, the Fine Arts building and the recent news of the McWherter Center, one would have to wonder where the parking dilemma ranks among the UTM's list of priorities. Obviously, it ranks significantly lower on the list than new shrubbery.

Every college in America has parking problems. I grew up 45 minutes from the Knoxville campus, trust me, I have seen parking issues. While most students are clamoring for more parking spots, that will just add to their long list of complaints. Like people selling baked goods in Humanities stairwell, and the long walk from the parking lots to campus, those poor souls.

I offer a suggestion to all of those who are taking the time to complain, or listening to those complaining, about the issue of a parking garage. Granted, we would likely have to sacrifice one of our precious parking lots to make this happen, it would be worth it in the long run.

Take for instance the parking lot near Pacer Pond. How perfect would a parking garage fit over there? You have one lot with two large sections. You could either construct one massive parking garage that would likely be more than currently needed, or one that holds the perfect amount of cars for now, but in five years will be too small for the growing number of students.

Now that there is a location, there is still a need to come up with the money to put this plan into action. I'm not saying that I want to pay more for tuition; trust me, we are all paying enough already. However, something like this warrants a few more dollars from us all. Better yet, offer a premium-parking sticker, slightly more than the normal sticker that allows you to park in the garage. That way the school will make the money back in a few short semesters, and eventually be turning a profit on the building. It's a win-win for everyone involved; the students have better parking and the school makes more money.

The last issue would be the design. I am far from an architect, but I'm certain that there are some folks over in the EPS building that would be able to design it. Obviously, Martin is looking to make upgrades due to all the recent aforementioned additions to our campus, and unlike academic buildings, it would take a much shorter amount of time to complete a parking garage. Granted it is blisteringly hot during the summer, especially working with concrete; that would be the perfect time to do it due to there being less students on campus.

The one thing that would set this project aside from the others that UTM has embarked on as of late is that one such as this would take far less time to complete. While it would be difficult to get this done during the summer, if all efforts were put towards this it can be done. With far less intricate detail put into a parking garage than an academic building, this should be a project that can easily be finished in four months. In the unfortunate case that it isn't then something would have to be worked out, possibly allowing students to use staff parking as a way of apology for not meeting their deadline, not that that has ever happened before.

Everyone says that UTM is growing every year. There were 7,751 students enrolled last fall; the freshman class totaled 1,276, the third largest in university history, and the graduate enrollment was up almost 3 percent from 413 students to 425, according to UTM's website.

It's obvious that UTM is doing things to reflect the improvement in enrollment. However, the fact that we have more students every semester, and we still have the same amount of parking spots is absolutely absurd. While it is unlikely this will happen, this can't stop us from hoping. Who knows, if we make enough noise, surely someone will take notice.


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