Why do we park in the driveway and drive on the parkway? I don’t know, but I can tell you that our administrative team has spent a lot of time thinking about parking this summer on campus.
It seems adequate parking is the problem everyone notices but no one wants to solve. Who wants to pay $1,500 a space to add parking, especially now with a tax on every designated parking space as an employee benefit? Parking is expensive.
Construction over the course of the next year will be disruptive — especially concerning parking. Chick-fil-A (CFA) will create the most disruption by closing the sidewalks around the lake, in between Centennial Library and Milner Business Administration Building, and closing off the very convenient parking lot behind Milner. We do this out of concern for everyone’s safety, with bricks, blocks, cement, and other building supplies constantly coming in and out.
We did spend time analyzing whether we could create a temporary sidewalk closer to the lake, but the expense made the project unwise. We also tried to buy the house that sits in the middle of our property (108 College St.), which would have allowed us to use the back half for parking, but the owners were not interested in selling at this time. You can join me in praying that we can obtain that property in God’s timing.
In addition to CFA, the new Civil Engineering Building will also disrupt parking. It will take up the faculty spaces behind the Engineering and Science Center and eliminate all of the resident parking for The Hill for the next year. The new residence hall has also created disruption by closing Varsity Drive this summer, but we hope to have that partially opened soon. Other than Varsity Drive, and the noise/mess that accompanies construction, the new residence hall should be the least disruptive.
Given that parking on campus was already tight, here are steps we have taken:
- Extended the lot in front of Apple that is connected to parking for the Center for Biblical and Theological Studies and Maddox Hall, creating 54 spaces that will replace the 45 lost spaces behind Milner.
- Paved a new lot along Bridge Street behind the chemistry labs, which will add 55 parking spaces for the residents of The Hill. This replaces 157 spaces eliminated by the civil engineering construction.
- Tore down the Jeremiah House. It was more than 25 years old and a modular home that would have cost too much to renovate. This lot on Varsity Drive and Bridge Street near the Health Sciences Center will add 100 new spaces.
- Added a second new lot along Varsity Drive behind the Stevens Student Center that has 114 spaces.
- Added a lot downtown with 35 spaces for South and Harriman.
If you are keeping track, this means we have added 358 parking spaces this year while losing 202 spaces. We have increased our parking by 156 spaces for next year and have spent over a half-million dollars on parking this summer.
The good news is that when Chick-fil-A opens and the Civil Engineering Building is completed in the fall of 2020, we will regain the use of many spaces blocked by construction this year. Altogether, in the fall of 2020, we will have more parking spaces on campus.
All this being said, this coming year you will encounter some inconvenience, and we apologize for that. Inconvenience often accompanies progress. Knowing human nature, our students will likely want to park where they are not supposed to park, so we will increase our enforcement of these violations. We will do our best to have as little disruption as possible, but we all know the winter months will be uncomfortable.
So whether you are driving or parking on campus, you may have questions. Why so much disruption in parking? Why not create more spaces? I can assure you we have spent much of the summer asking those questions. We have spent a lot of money providing additional spaces, and we are trying to be wise in providing adequate solutions to get through the next year. Every time we add a new parking lot, I think back to the concern voiced by our campus master planning consultants, who warned us that we needed to be a pedestrian-friendly campus more than a vehicle-friendly campus. They cautioned us not to create asphalt jungles in the center of campus.
And yet, of all the problems to have on a university campus in this cultural climate, I’ll take the problem of growth and expansion. I thank the Lord that we are not dealing with laying people off, considering mergers, or pondering the closing of the campus. Many of my colleagues are walking through those deep waters right now. So, whenever we encounter dust, construction, obstructed paths, closed lots, or hear the noise of progress, let’s thank the Lord for His favor toward Cedarville and blessings upon our efforts. He has been far more gracious toward us than we deserve.
I look forward to serving alongside you all this year for the Word of God and the Testimony of Jesus Christ.