Enrollment spike worsens parking woes

By BRITTANY HORTON/Montana State News

It seems that the nation’s best kept secret of Bozeman, Montana, is becoming more mainstream than the locals might like – at least to college students.

According to the Montana State University fall census, the MSU enrolment is up 634 students, or 4.32 percent, from last year’s record of 14,660 students. It is the seventh time in the last eight years that MSU has set an enrollment record. The huge jump in students has affected several different parts of the campus, including classes, parking and student housing.

But parking seems like the biggest thing bugging students.

Senior Colter Yeley voiced his concerns about parking saying, “It just does not seem like there is enough room for all of us. If I don’t get here by 7:30, I have to park in the boondocks.”

Any student can see the parking problems around campus; available spots fill up quickly. Chatter around campus suggests that the parking service sells more passes then there are spots. Calls to the MSU Parking Services manager were not returned.

Stressful parking on campus is no new experience; alumna Katherine Mason shared her experiences online while signing a petition to president Cruzado to organize on campus parking saying, “When I was a student at MSU, it was sometimes more stressful to find parking than it was to complete my coursework. Not only was it stressful, but oftentimes I was forced to park in the distant parking lot, which is poorly maintained. That lot is a hazard not only to drivers and their passengers, but to vehicles moving through the lot and pedestrians walking.”

With all of the excess students, the school has been scrambling to accommodate the needs of every student and their vehicles. For example, the Brick Breeden Fieldhouse parking lot was upgraded from gravel to pavement during the summer of 2013, and there are more plans ahead.

While the manager of parking services was not available to comment, employees in the parking offices confirmed plans to build a parking garage on campus. Those plans have been in limbo for several years.

– Edited by Casey Sullivan

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