By Mike McFarland
The old idiom, the early bird catches the worm best describes the parking situation on campus. Campus parking has continued to become an exercise in frustration for many students and employees as the number of enrolled students has exceeded dedicated parking spaces.
Currently, 12,273 LCCC students, 850 University Partnership students, and 887 faculty members for a total of 14,010 individuals compete for 4,000 parking spaces.
This sudden increase in enrollment could be the reason for parking shortages. This growth is due to both economic downturn and the number of people returning to school to train for careers in higher demand to take advantage of government and state programs that reimburse for retraining.
LCCC started with adequate parking space for a small community college. As its reputation began to flourish, enrollment doubled. As a result, the campus had to expand to accommodate the large number. New buildings were constructed and parking remained at a standstill due to budget restraints. In time, a new parking lot was constructed at the north end of the campus for the hefty sum of $870,000. The expansion included 370 additional parking spaces.
The question most people want answered is, “Why aren’t there more parking spaces offered?” Director of Campus Security Keith Brown stated “we have ample parking spaces available on campus. They are just not conveniently located.” He encourages students to “plan ahead, arrive early, ride share if you can, know where to park, and instead of parking closest to your first class, park in the lot closest to your last class.”
Brown notes that other colleges charge for parking. Parking at LCCC is free for students, faculty and staff.
According to an article in “The Chronicle of Higher Education”, limited on-campus parking has become an issue among colleges and universities nationwide. The article claims that students at a Minnesota community college arrive two hours prior to their class in order to find a parking space. The installation of a new Science building is set to break ground in early May. Parking will not be affected according to Director of Physical Plant Bob Flyer.
“As far the Lab Science project goes, we do have a preliminary plan for added parking if it’s really needed. That’s a question. Most of our lots are not fully utilized shortly after the semesters start,” said Flyer. While parking solutions are in the air, the bulk of them would be in the future. But that doesn’t mean that interim solutions are not being pursued. Proposed budget cuts may impact how soon those interim solutions are implemented, however.
In 2011, campus security reports that were 25 accidents, 48 total thefts across campus (including parking lots and buildings) and a total of 1,722 parking citations were written.
For a full list of fines and charges visit www.lorainccc.edu/Campus+Security