If you ask anyone on the Washington Street Campus what their biggest problem with school is, their answer probably won’t be homework, tests, pop quizzes or even awkwardly full elevator rides.
In fact, most students would say that parking (or, rather, a lack thereof) is their biggest issue — and eight out of ten have a suggestion: a decent-sized, multi-story parking garage on campus. We, The Ranger staff, are here to tell you why this is a terrible idea.
First, parking garages are expensive. Really expensive. According to national consulting firm Wantman Group, Inc., a structure could cost about $20,000 per space. Not per level, per individual space. If you think about how many students attend classes on the Washington Street Campus every day, there would have to be a lot of spaces — and a lot of money.
AC as a whole has a budget of $72 million. That money covers repairs, upkeep, salaries and everything else it takes to run a college. If they decided to not pay any of the bills, ignore anything that needed fixed, stop buying toilet paper and fire all faculty and staff members, they could build a parking garage with a little more than 3,000 spots.
However, if there are no students or staff members to park in those spots, what’s the point? AC’s primary sources of income are property taxes and tuition and fees — money from the students, their parents and the community. Additionally, it would probably mean that students would have to buy pricey parking passes.
At universities like West Texas A&M, parking passes can cost up to $40. At Texas Tech, permits can cost up to $670. Yes, you read that right. Our parking situation (which is free) doesn’t seem as bad now, does it?
The bottom line is this: our parking problem is not that bad. Yes, it can be inconvenient, but that inconvenience can be easily avoided by getting to school a little bit earlier to snag a good spot. The ridiculous amount of money that would be spent on a parking garage could — and is, for the most part — invested in things that are much more beneficial for the whole student body.