Tarleton students fight parking problems

This story was written by Shelby Clayton with reporting by Candy Carpenter, Thy Dang, Morgan Duncan, Tara Hughey, Riley Odom, Lara Oler, Breanna Shorkey, Mark Smith, Alex Taylor, Renee Warner and Karly West. 

Centennial Hall parking lot at Tarleton State University  Photo by Dalton Wolverton

Centennial Hall parking lot at Tarleton State University
Photo by Dalton Wolverton

Tarleton State University’s vision statement says that Tarleton will be the “premier student-focused university in Texas and beyond.”

However, many students interviewed by the Texan News Service said parking problems are marring that vision. They report missing classes, frequent tardiness and changing their daily routines because of parking issues.

Students who commute from off the campus voiced some of the loudest complaints about parking.

Holly Harris, a junior who is a commuter, said the university should address the parking issue before adding more dorms.

“We need more parking lots instead of new dorms,” Harris said. “We should put a cap on how many students are allowed in so that we can build parking and other things without affecting the students.”

Anna Rios, a graduate student and commuter, agreed.

“I think that the parking issue could have been handled more efficiently and Tarleton should think about their current students, too, when making decisions about future students,” she said.

However, students who live on campus but have off-campus classes face parking issues, too.

Keely Cobler, a sophomore animal science major, said on Monday and Wednesday she has an off-campus lecture at the Dairy Center at 8 a.m. On Monday she has a 9 a.m. biology lab on campus.

She said that before the Rec Center parking lot was closed down she never had a problem finding a parking spot.

“I’ve run a few minutes late to class, but I’ve had to leave my off campus class 20 minutes early since the changes,” Cobler said.

Her professor, Dr. Hugo Ramirez, is understanding, but “it has caused me to get behind on lectures,” she added.

Cobler isn’t the only student having issues when returning to campus after an off-campus class.

Maddi Cavender, a junior agriculture education major, said she also sometimes has to take classes at the farm.

“Then I will have a class on campus right after and it’s near impossible to find a spot,” she said.

Courtney Hendley has the same problem.

“I travel to the school dairy twice a day and have campus classes in between those so I drive back and forth constantly, which has made me almost late to class a few times,” she said.

Many students said it takes about 30 minutes to find an open parking space.

“Parking has gotten so bad lately,” added junior Geraldo Carden. “It’s a pain just to get in the car and search for a parking spot for about 30 to 45 minutes every morning hoping to get a spot.

“I’ve missed quite a few classes and I haven’t been able to meet up with my groups and sometimes in the middle of the day,” Carden added.

He said his grades have suffered.

“Some professors understand that parking is a major issue, but there are some who just don’t care because they got their reserved spot,” he said.

Other professors, though, have made adjustments to their requirements because of parking issues.

“Professors that used to lock classroom doors after five minutes of class have stopped doing it because students are late due to parking,” said Jill Garcia, a senior geology major.

The shuttle service on campus is supposed to relieve the problems with parking far away from campus, but some students criticized the way it operates.

As Cobler said, “they (the golf carts) are either driving away full or I don’t see any at all.”

“It’s frustrating when I get to campus and I have to park behind the stadium and the carts that are running are full or don’t stop for students even if there are open seats,” added Cavender.

However, Bri Jaramillo, who lives at The Grove, reported using the shuttle “now more then ever.”

“I like it because it’s easy to use and I don’t have to spend 40 minutes looking for a parking spot,” Jaramillo said. “But I hate that I have to leave an hour before my class starts because of the buses’ random pick up drop off time and that it only runs ‘till 5.”

Chelsea Black, a freshman nursing major who lives on campus, said if the university is going to enroll more freshmen and build more campus dorms, it needs to build more parking lots.

“This is our money for our education and future,” she said. “The least they can assure us is the simplicity of a parking spot to get to our classes.”

But Shelbi Bell, a kinesiology and biology major, said while parking is a pain, she does not want a campus surrounded by parking lots.

“I feel like acres of asphalt takes away from the beauty of campus,” she said.

Several students pointed out that they pay to attend Tarleton and pay parking fees and should expect to be able to park.

“I’m paying money to attend my classes and school; I should be given the ability to get a parking spot without a hassle or wondering if I’m gonna be late to class or even have to miss it because I couldn’t find a spot,” said Garrett Womack, a sophomore agriculture major and a commuter. “Teachers say it’s our money or choice to come to class, but it’s not fair when we do try to make it to class but can’t because of the school’s choices.”

Graduate student Stephanie Chambers, however, pointed out that parking is an issue at all universities.

“Compared to other schools, Tarleton’s parking really isn’t that bad,” she said. “I know that my opinion is an unpopular one, but the remote lot almost always has plenty of parking. As someone who hates mornings, I understand that it’s a pain to wake up early just to find a parking spot and walk to the buildings, but if you know that parking takes some time, then leave for campus earlier than normal.

“Our campus isn’t that big, there are many students at other universities who have to walk over a mile from a spot that they have to pay a lot more for,” she added. “The parking committee has worked extremely hard to make adjustments and suggestions to help the students.”

The Texan News Service is produced by journalism students in the Department of Communication Studies at Tarleton State University. Read more news at www.texannews.net.  


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