With approximately 3500 students and eight student parking lots, it seems that Shepherd University would have plenty of parking for a smaller rural university. Most students will find that this is not the case.
University parking has created frustrations for students attempting to get to class on time for years. The problem is not how much parking there is, but where the parking lots are.
Sitting on 323-acres of land, Shepherd University is spread out for the number of students attending the university. Shepherd University has two sides of campus: east campus and west campus. If you ask most students where their classes are, they will tell you that most of their classes are on the east campus.
Out of six commuter parking lots, there are only two large parking lots on east campus. West campus contains the other three commuter lots and two residential parking lots. H-lot on the west campus is by far the most accommodating.
But what’s the problem with it? It is approximately 10-20 minutes walking distance to the east campus. This depends on how quickly you walk. When students are unable to park close to their classes, they may end up being late. That could cause students to receive a lower grade, leading to a loss of financial aid and scholarships.
The campus parking can be irritating for students at times. Shepherd University student Shaun Becker says, “I don’t like that I paid for a parking pass when I end up having to park on King Street or High Street, it seems like I am wasting money on a parking pass because I end up parking at a meter most days.”
The problem for students when it comes to campus parking is the price. In-state students are already paying over $7,000 for tuition. Out-of-state students pay around $18,000 for tuition, and the parking pass adds another $70 on top of that.
If a student is running slightly late for class, especially in the middle of the day, they will more than likely have trouble finding a spot. Students will, unfortunately, see that money they spent going down the drain because they will have to park on the street.
While paying for meter parking may be convenient, it is not beneficial for the university or its students. Shepherd University does not see a penny of the money put in the meters, even if students park on High Street next to Knutti Hall or White Hall.
You would think the money goes to the university because you are “on campus” but any money from street parking goes directly to Shepherdstown. Let’s say that a student bought a parking pass for $70 and park at a meter twice a week because they could not find a spot, and they pay to park for two hours using the Passport app. By the end of the semester, students would be paying an extra $40 that goes to the town.
Of course, this seems like an issue for both students and Shepherd University. There must be some sort of solution. Most students may not know, but Shepherd University created a master plan in 2014 that discusses solutions to these problems. Due to Covid-19, the master plan was pushed back but was updated in 2020.
The university plans to build a 450-space parking garage where C-Lot currently is. The construction of a parking garage would create plenty of parking for students. The university plans to have the garage built by 2024. There is more information about the parking garage written in the campus master plan. It would be beneficial for all students and faculty to read the master plan as it lays out 50 different projects that would be beneficial for everyone on campus. If you are interested in reading the master plan, it can be found at https://www.wvhepc.edu/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/2020-Campus-Master-Plan-2014-UPDATE.pdf