Thousands of people will come to campus for the grand opening of Wildcat Stadium, creating logistical issues for university administration.
ACU Police Chief Jimmy Ellison recommended traveling guests plan to arrive an hour early because of the bridge construction on I-20 and Ambler. Ellison also said guests should be considerate of the residents on side streets. State law prohibits vehicles from blocking any driveway, sidewalk or alleyway, and any vehicle violating these laws is subject to be towed. In addition, because property owners do not own or control the streets, they do not have the authority to post “no parking” signs. Parking along residential streets is legal as long as it is not in a posted “no parking” zone, or blocking driveways or alleys.
For on-campus parking, parking lots will be split into two categories: controlled lots available by pre-issued parking passes only, and public lots, which are available on a first-come/first-served basis.
“As with any major event on campus, ACUPD will be as flexible as possible about certain parking infractions, but will be enforcing safety related violations such as blocking fire lanes, ramps, handicap spaces, turn-ins/exits, etc.,” Ellison said. “People just need to remember that if a parking lot is full, seek a space elsewhere, don’t create a space. If an area is not striped for parking, consider it a prohibited area.”
During the festivities, ACUPD will be using every available officer as well as 12 additional officers from the Abilene Police Department. Both agencies will be working together, Ellison said, and will continue to enforce alcohol restrictions on campus.
“Alcohol violations have always been rare at ACU home games over the years at Shotwell Stadium. We anticipate that trend to continue but will continue to enforce the law with a good balance of discretion,” Chief Ellison said. “As for tobacco, we would simply be advising patrons that tobacco use is prohibited by ACU policy and that they can remove the use, or choose to leave the property.”
The official tailgating area, Wildcat Country, will be in the campus mall. Students will be allowed to set up in the north-mall near Moody Coliseum, and alumni on the south-mall.
Director of Events, Jennifer Ellison, said she anticipates numbers closer to 2,000 given the number of student groups involved and alumni returning.
“My expectation is that they show up energized and excited to support ACU football,” Ellison said. “I hope that students see this as not only a great social activity, but also as an opportunity to support their peers and student athletes. It’s also a prime time to create new traditions and be a part of something truly fantastic.”