With enrollment up from 1,100 students to 1,200 this year, a chronic parking space shortage at Mills is getting worse, but college officials said it is not bad enough to spend the money to add more parking lots.
Roger Ono, assistant vice president for financial affairs and human resources, said that if enrollment were to go up enough that parking became impossible, making new lots would be a higher priority. But the cost of constructing new lots is not a trivial amount. To grade, asphalt, and re-stripe the land to create just one parking space it would cost $3,000, which means that if an entire lot were added with 60 spaces would cost Mills $180,000.
Although Mills is working with a larger budget this year, the priority of new parking lots must be carefully assessed, he said.
There are 1,000 lined parking spaces on the Mills campus according to Public Safety director Steven King.
Ono said that this is not bad for a campus with about 1,700 people.
According to interim provost John Brabson, there is competition for resources, money could go toward adding more courses or giving more financial aid.
Many students feel sometime in the near future more parking is going to have to be factored in.
“It takes me longer to find parking on campus than it does to drive to campus,” said senior Deagon Williams who lives in the Fruitvale area.
Williams and with other students said that it takes between 10 and 15 minutes of circling around campus before finding a space.
Brabson, who rarely has trouble finding parking at 8 a.m., when he arrives to school said that there have been times when he had to leave campus and returned to find parking spaces a little bit harder to find around 11 a.m. However, he said that there is almost always parking in the lot at the front of the school.
This is not always very convenient for students since it is so far from most classes. Some students, like senior Sundeep Sidhu take classes on other campuses and are unable to allow 20 minutes extra for parking. She said that when she returns to campus she ends up spending about 10 minutes driving about hoping to find parking near her afternoon science lab, but many times as a last resort is forced to go to the front of the school and face an eight minute walk to class.
Sidhu, said she is more worried about next semester when she will have four lab classes. “That’s when I’m really gonna have problems.”