By JOHN KING
There are currently two parking lots under construction on Amarillo College’s Washington Street Campus, resulting in fewer places for students and staff to park. “We don’t have a parking problem, we have a walking problem,” Danny Smith, the Master Plan program manager, said.
Smith, who oversees all of the new bond-related construction at AC, also said there are regularly many spots open next to his office on the far side of campus, but students say they prefer to park closer to their classes. “People are unwilling to walk. They just want to park up front,” Alex Spencer, a psychology major, said.
The parking is “anxiety inducing,” according to Spencer, to the point where “I hit a curb because I was so nervous.”
The construction for Parking Lot 10, behind the Carter Fitness Center, Byrd Business Building and Parcells Hall, is set to be finished by August 2022, adding about 40 spots in time for the volleyball season.
Lot 8, behind Warren Hall off South Van Buren Street, is under construction as well and will soon be the site of the water chillers currently located under Parcells Hall. The move will make them “more efficient,” Smith said, adding that the chillers, which air-condition the entire campus, are currently inconvenient to repair or replace. The chiller move will occur in the summer 2023.
Smith said after the construction of Lot 10 is completed, Lot 9, on Jackson Street between 24th and 25th Avenues, will be rearranged and restriped to make it safer. After the completion of Lot 9, “there will be no more projects on this campus,” at least not that will affect students, he said.
Spencer said he feels hopeful that parking will improve someday. “When construction clears, it will get better,” he said. Ariana Tiroff, AC’s Blackboard support manager, said that may be wishful thinking. “When I was a student three years ago, I had parking issues,” she said.
Even if parking lots specifically aren’t under construction, other parts of campus are and will be in the future.
The current buildings under construction on the Washington Street Campus are the Carter Fitness Center, being renovated to accommodate for future sports and make the facility more appealing, and Russell Hall, set to be the future enrollment center that most enrollment related departments are moving to making the building a “one stop shop,” said Smith. The space between the present Russell Hall and the Ware Student Commons will be turned into a patio similar to the one between the Ware building and bookstore.
Smith said although some students may dislike the construction, the end result will be worth the inconvenience. “We have to keep going to make it better,” he said.