UTAH TECH UNIVERSITY'S STUDENT NEWS SOURCE | June 18, 2024

The lack of parking could be a time to reconsider how you get around St. George

Utah Tech University’s building of Campus View Suites III brings a lot of new housing into the mix as well as parking. With the limited parking we have now, will there be a new parking lot opening? Annie Muirbrook| Sun News Daily

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Construction has begun on the Utah Tech University campus for Campus View Suites III (CVS III); a student housing complex that will add 564 beds to on-campus housing and increase the demand for parking.

When CVS III is finished, the total number of beds on campus will be around 1,450. There are currently upwards of 12,000 students enrolled at Utah Tech which is up 2.36% from the previous year with approximately 4,077 parking stalls available on campus.

Parking Manager Valerie O’Rourke said as of right now, approximately 6,200 parking permits are sold each year including annual and per-semester permits.

That is a number that clearly exceeds the 4,077 available parking stalls. However, this doesn’t mean that parking is completely full.

“Parking stalls across campus are not maxed out yet, with the majority of open parking available in lots K, N and O,” O’Rourke said. “In the fall, housing lots are almost full, but some spaces open in the spring, as we have seen this year.”

Additionally, a new parking lot is being developed on the north end of campus where the Edith S. Whitehead Education Building is located. O’Rourke said this will open up parking for students who live on campus and will provide an additional 180 parking stalls. 

“Currently, we are evaluating additional spaces and parking garages in the university’s master plan,” O’Rourke said. 

Seth Gubler, director of housing and resident life, said additional parking will benefit students by allowing them to park closer to their intended destinations.

Utah Tech currently has an average walk to class time of 8 minutes and additional parking would help to bring that time down.

Some students have a different way of combating the growing demand for parking. Resident Assistant Josiah Scheaffer said he has never had an issue with parking at Utah Tech as he rides a bicycle everywhere, both on and off campus, and he thinks more students could do the same.

This allows Scheaffer to avoid any costs related to parking and not have to worry about finding a parking stall close to his classes.

When it comes to parking costs for students, O’Rourke said several factors are taken into consideration when raising costs with the upcoming academic year prices having yet to be determined. 

Additional parking on campus may mean an increase in parking pass prices. However, many students prefer parking pass prices to stay the same and deal with the congestion as opposed to paying more for parking.

A general or student housing parking pass currently costs $45 per semester or $75 annually. This is significantly cheaper then other universities in Utah such as Utah State University which charges between $120 and $235 for an annual parking pass.

With an average of 300 days of sun, and only eight inches of rain per year, St. George may be the perfect place for more students to use alternative forms of transportation such as a bicycle to avoid paying for parking altogether.

“I think that we already have a parking issue, and that’s too much parking,” Scheaffer said. “Studies have shown that expanding car-based infrastructure like larger roads and more parking doesn’t reduce the scarcity of parking spaces or traffic, it just increases the traffic and usage of said infrastructure, parking included.”

He added he usually notices parking available on the north end of campus, and students should be willing to walk a little further in order to cut down congestion in parking lots.

University officials are continuously assessing the needs of the growing student body when it comes to student housing and parking capacity.

“If enrollment continues to increase, then I believe demand for student housing will also increase,” Gubler said. “The university will look at all feasible solutions which may include additional construction and looking to private contractors to meet the demand.”

In addition to biking, there are many ways to ease the demand for parking on campus both now and after the completion of CVS III in 2024. These include Spin scooters, the St. George Suntran, which is free to all Utah Tech students, and carpooling.