Visitor parking lot offers faculty paid spots

St. Edward’s University has turned part of the visitor parking lot into paid parking for faculty members.

The visitor parking lot behind the bookstore has been split into two sections: one that allows anyone to park and the other that is designated as reserved parking. The Auxiliary Services department made the change. Director of Auxiliary Services Michael Stone said that the process has been in development for some time now.

“[Seven] places have been sold. Handicap stays handicap, that’s not reserved but the other seven are. They were sold for $960 a year [and the permits are orange],” Stone said.

The visitor lot adjacent to the reserved parking lot will remain primarily for visitors.

Stone said that Auxiliary Services has examined the visitor’s lot for some time. Due to the fact that students, faculty and staff use the visitor’s lot more than visitors do, changes for the visitor’s lot seem to be on the horizon, Stone said.

“We selected a small lot with only a few spaces for the pilot program. We will assess the relative success or failure of the pilot program and decide whether or not to keep it next year or expand it,” Stone said.

Stone said that the use of the visitor’s lot maybe improved and current alternatives are being considered, for example expanding the reserved parking program, making the visitor’s lot only for visitors, or making the lot a more general parking lot. How many parking spaces will be included in any further changes is currently in debate.

These changes affect students and staff who have trouble with parking. Shadia Omar, a commuter student, paid over $300 for her year-long parking permit and “has to end up parking in the garage because there is no free parking.”

Other students note that there could be other options to expanding parking. Christina Schech, a resident student, said that “it’s almost impossible to find a space and [she has] to circle [the campus] three or four times to find a space.”

Schech said that Auxiliary Services could put a parking garage in the parking lot next to Doyle Hall and the Fine Arts Building to accommodate for more spots.

Morris Stevens, the music director at St. Edward’s, said that the parking lot next to the Carriage House could be a location for a new fine arts/performing art center.

“Yes, it would take away parking but maybe we could have underground parking,” Stevens said.

Humanities Mac Lab Coordinator Nick Enghardt said that he struggles with the parking near the Arts Building. Enghardt said that the parking near the Arts Building used to be solely for the faculty and staff that work near that area, but it has since been opened to resident and commuter students.

Enghardt said that he would not pay $900 a year for a specific space on campus.

“Faculty and staff have a tough time parking near their offices because students [have been allowed to] park near behind the Arts Building,” Enghardt said.

*Editor’s note: This article has been changed to reflect that Nick Enghardt is the Humanities Mac Lab Coordinator.