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Chasing Pavements

November 28, 2010

by Justin Fort and Patrick Boyd

It is 7:20 a.m., and Natalie McElwee, a sophomore journalism major, pulls into a gravel lot with holes, shattered glass, muddy puddles, construction equipment and vehicles all around it.

 

Students trying to get to their 8 a.m. classes at Louisiana Tech University pull into this lot, swerving around construction tape, avoiding the potholes, trying to find a parking spot for which they pay $40 a year. Students get to the lot early so they can get a “good” spot, close to campus, instead of having to park all the way at the football field or at other lots further off campus.  Students keep a keen eye out for these spots, or gravelly-challenged spaces, in which they risk damaging their cars.

 

“It seems like there’s never enough parking,” McElwee said. “You have to maneuver around all the construction to find parking.”

Tech President Dr. Daniel Reneau said there are available parking spots.

 

“Studies show that if you look, you can find a parking spot,” Reneau said. “It may not be the most convenient. “It may not be in front of the classroom or the faculty members’ office, but there are spots available.”

Madelyne Godley, a senior music major, hasn’t parked on campus in more than four years, she said.

 

“I haven’t bought a parking sticker since my freshman year,” Godley said. “It’s just easier for me to park at the Wesley and walk from there, than try to find a parking spot in a lot that’s not even well kept up.”

 “I paid, how much for this parking permit, and I have to park in this designated area, but you aren’t even going to keep it up?

 

“I popped a tire, that’s ridiculous,” she said of a visit to Tech her senior year of high school.

McElwee, who lives in the University Park Apartments, is concerned about the maintenance of parking lots around her apartment.

“The parking lot for my apartment is gravel, not paved,” McElwee said. “It makes it really difficult on my vehicle.”

McElwee said that the parking lots concern her because of loose gravel that makes it easy for rocks to fly and damage other students’ cars.

 

Reneau agreed that there are certain problems with parking for on-campus housing.

 “I don’t think the parking is necessarily adequate for the housing,” Reneau said. ?”Something is going to have to be done.”

The paved lots are not proportional to the number of students who live in these apartments, he said. This has caused quite a problem for students who have to park far away from their apartments. They must walk far across campus late at night to get back.  This presents many safety concerns, but Reneau assures it is not a problem on campus.  Safety is a priority on campus, and the campus has become increasingly safer over the past few decades.

 

Reneau said Tech is fortunate to get funds that allow it to continue to expand and meet the new technological advances that Tech is trying to keep up with, while at the same time preserving its heritage. Most of the new buildings that are coming up like the new Enterprise Center, which is located across from Nethken Hall, and the renovations of the new addition to the business building, have been paid for by the state, money of which Reneau states that we are very fortunate to have received.

 

Students realize this. But parking is a bigger issue to them. There is a great discrepancy between what the students and faculty at Tech see as problems.  The main problem with the allocation of money could be the misunderstandings between what students see as being important, and what Tech is actually spending the money on.  Since most of the parking lots on campus have not been kept up, students see this as a neglected focus that the university should address.

                 

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