Sam Houston State University lost 300 parking spaces Sunday due to the construction of a new building.
Parking lot Z2-07 located at the corner of Bearkat Boulevard and Bobby K. Marks is now closed for construction as it will be the new home of the $27.5 million, 71,500 square foot Art Complex.
“It is always unsettling to see a large parking lot being repurposed for an additional building especially when we are unable to recoup the same quality and quantity of spaces in another location,” Deputy Chief of Parking and Transportation Matthew McDaniel said. “This has been a familiar trend on many campuses that are fortunate to see the growth and expansion that we have been feeling for some time now.”
Parking was already an issue at SHSU and the closure of lot Z2-07 puts more pressure on students to arrive unnecessarily early and hunt for any remaining spots. According to McDaniel, parking lot Z2-07 will eventually reopen once the Art Complex is complete. However, parking near the building will be tailored more towards motorists and at a lower total number of parking spaces.
“The parking situation is terrible,” senior Criminal Justice major Triston Buegeler said. “I was late to my class this morning. I got to the parking lot at 9:10 a.m., and I couldn’t find a parking spot until 9:35. I was late to class even though I was 20 minutes early, and that’s ridiculous.”
In an effort to recoup the loss of 300 parking spaces, SHSU reopened parking lot (Z2-12) in front of Johnson Coliseum, which contains 80 spaces. The university also rerouted a number of roads to one-way after spring break in order to add more on-street parking and to improve vehicular and pedestrian safety.
The one-way street conversion added 90 zone 2 parking spots.
“As the campus master plan evolves, we will continue to see a loss of parking in the center of campus in exchange for parking around the periphery of campus,” McDaniel said. “We were very fortunate in being able to capitalize on the one-way traffic flow changes by adding on street parking.”
According to McDaniel, The goal moving forward for the Parking and Transportation Department is to communicate underutilized parking areas that are not as popular with the student body.
One thing students are not familiar with is how to utilize the on-street parking. Students are allowed to park in the hybrid spaces for free if they own a Zone 2 or Zone 1 ePermit, said McDaniel. Anyone who does not own a Zone 2 or Zone 1 ePermit can use the Parkmobile app to pay by the hour up to the daily maximum rate.
“I think the new additions are a great idea,” junior Criminal Justice major Chase Lee said. “I am thankful for the department creating spots wherever they can.”
Another unpopular parking lot is the Batch Plant lot, which is further out from campus. Batch Plant has 500 spaces available and is an open permit area that costs $50 per year.
“I don’t even know how you get to campus from over there without crossing a dangerous slope,” Buegeler said. “I don’t know where the entrance is, I don’t know how to get to it and I’m sure it’s not very reliable.”
Facilities Management said the Bowers Boulevard Utilities/Town Creek Drainage project is nearing completion. By the end of this week, Facilities Management expects it to be completed with installation of utilities, clean up and restoration of disturbed areas. Facilities Management also expects to open a parking lot between the biology lab building and Piney Woods Hall sometime this summer and they also have a new parking garage slated for completion in 2020.