Parking on campus will be challenging due to the loss of spaces from construction.
The Vision in Action initiative is underway, beginning with construction next to Elmer Gray stadium and in Bennett Gymnasium.
While these new projects will be beneficial to the future of the university, they are only causing headaches right now.
“Students should expect problems with parking,” said Jimmy Ellison, ACU chief of police. “However, there should still be adequate parking for everyone on campus.”
Danielle Boyle, junior elementary education major from Atlanta, had trouble finding a parking spot on Monday.
“It took me quite a while to find a place to park,” Boyle said. “I had to walk further than I was hoping to get to class, so I’m glad I allowed for that extra time.”
There are already two major projects underway that began early this summer, each bringing with it a temporary loss of parking spaces.
Bennett Gymnasium, one of the oldest buildings on campus, is currently undergoing a 24,000 square foot remodel into a laboratory, workshop and teaching space. The construction started late last semester and is projected to cost $5 million.
About 30 parking spaces have been closed around Nelson Hall and the Phillips Education Building to accommodate construction. These spots are expected to reopen when the project is finished, Ellison said.
The second construction site is the new track and field and soccer stadium on Ambler Avenue. About 270 parking spots have been closed for this project. These include spots around Elmer Gray Stadium and the Oliver Jackson lot, which has been closed permanently. Around 120 of these spots are expected to reopen with the completion of the project.
In light of the loss of spots, Ellison expects more students to park to the south of campus.
“What we tell everybody is: expect maximum occupancy, arrive early, and be prepared to walk a little further than you might have had to walk last year,” Ellison said.
In addition, safety is important for all parties involved.
“Students are still required to park in appropriate parking,” Ellison said. “ACUPD recognizes it will be frustrating, but safety is important. We have to maintain emergency vehicle access at all times.”
Along with the frustration of finding a spot, the price for parking permits has also gone up from $10 to $20.
“We revisit the price of permits every few years and adjust it depending on funding needs and the price of permits at our sister schools,” Ellison said.
While the price of parking on campus may seem like a lot, ACU’s fee is low compared to other Texas schools. Texas A&M’s general student on-campus parking is $275, and Harding University has a higher fee at $280.
Ellison said the price of permits is expected to stay the same for at least a few years.