It’s 8:50 a.m. and I’m going to be on time for my organic chemistry lecture, which starts at 9 a.m. I pull into the parking lot at Dixie State University and frantically look for a spot. I circle the parking lot and see a dumpster taking up three open parking spots. After I zoom around the corner to a different parking lot, I find that this lot has one-third of its spots taken up by construction workers and their vehicles. I now realize I can park closer to my class if I park off campus instead of moving to the next lot.
I catch a glance of the parking pass hanging from my rear-view mirror and think this pass I paid for still doesn’t guarantee me a parking spot. I think about the little value the parking pass held in that situation and the fact that the price for a parking pass also has increased from $50 to $75.
There’s no denying it: DSU hasn’t made enough accommodations for parking during its growth. In the last 10 years, DSU has welcomed two new buildings to campus and is currently working on a third — the Science, Engineering and Technology building; however the HPC and SET buildings did not come with any new parking.
In fact, new buildings are being built where parking spots used to be. The Human Performance Center is in place of an old parking lot that was previously for students.
“If you tried to park today, you’d know that our enrollment is up,” said President Richard “Biff” Williams in a 2019 St. George News article.
The same article stated, “In 2013, the institution had 8,147 students enrolled and has touted a 26% increase in enrollment over the last 6 years, welcoming about 9,950 students to campus in 2018.”
The past three years have been no different; DSU now welcomes over 12,000 students. With all the growth, there have been no added parking spaces for students. Does the administration just expect students to walk to class?
At the end of a long day of studying and attending classes, a half-mile journey to my car isn’t what I’d love to do. I’d have much more appreciation for the university if my parking pass held value and made the purchase worth it.
The DSU administration doesn’t understand this problem because its members have their own parking spots designated for faculty and staff only. They need to realize this problem and make a change.
Smarter building plans could have been a major way to help open up parking spots for students. Instead of cramming all of the buildings into this one block, buildings could be strategically placed in more convenient locations.
For example, the Atwood Innovation Plaza building is located on its own lot. Rather than trying to squish in the new SET building between two already crowded buildings with a small parking lot, why not build where the Atwood Innovation Plaza building is located and increase parking where the old Performing Arts Building was located?
This would allow the parking lot behind the West Grandstand of Greater Zion Stadium to be more utilized throughout the week and not just on game days. It would also create more room, better use of parking spots further away from buildings, and would open up the campus space.
The only real open parking lot throughout the day is the lot east of the M. Anthony Burns Arena and north of Bruce Hurst Field. This location is full on game days but fairly open the rest of the week. The reason this lot is almost always open throughout the week is that it is over half a mile to any of the northern buildings on campus.
Ultimately, creating more distance between buildings and incorporating parking lots in building plans would improve the parking situation for students.