One of the most common complaints heard around the campus of Shepherd University is that it is difficult to find convenient parking.
It makes sense that this complaint is common as Shepherd University’s student body is composed of mostly commuters. Shepherd University Police Department’s website shows that all student parking lots, except A-Lot, are on the west side of campus while most of the actual classes take place on the east side of campus, which can be very inconvenient for busy students trying to get to the university and their classes on time.
There are staff and faculty parking lots that the students do not have access to on the east side of campus, and many students feel that they should be allowed to use these lots.
I asked many students who drive and commute for their opinion on whether or not they should be allowed to use the faculty parking lots and was met with a unanimous “yes.” Many students detailed their opinions regarding the current state of university parking.
“Parking on campus is probably about Shepherd,” stated first-year commuter Danyel VanReenen. “First of all, most of the parking lots are really far from the main part of campus, and it is really difficult to find any parking at certain times of day.”
Sophomore Tori Young echoed VanReenen’s convictions: “Clearly, there is not enough parking in the lots or streets to justify the price of my parking permit.”
History major Caleb Harsrook summed up the situation much more bluntly: “Sometimes, it can be a hassle.”
For a couple of years, the university had planned to build a parking garage; however, the Herald Mail reports that the project could not garner sufficient funding.
I asked John McAvoy, chief of the Shepherd University police force, why students are prohibited from parking in the faculty lots, especially on the weekends when they are empty. While he did not answer the question of why, Deputy McAvoy informed me that faculty lot B is available to students over the weekends, yet only when the gates are up as long as they are gone by Sunday evening.
Lot B is behind the library and near the freshman dormitories. As staff who use that lot only work during the week, it is always empty on the weekends, so it could be used as a very convenient parking lot for visiting students and family over the weekend if the gates are up, but the truth of the matter is that the gates are not always up on the weekends.
Maddie Boehm stated that “lot B is not always open on the weekend; sometimes the gates are down the whole time.”
As of now, there is no explicit statement from the university of any plans to improve parking situations. Commuter students are instead advised to take advantage of the PanTran system to make up for the lack of parking on east campus. With a plethora of new students assuredly joining the population of commuter students, things are not looking good as far as the parking situation goes. Unfortunately, parking is still a burden at Shepherd and there is not bright future in sight.