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Akers: Clemson’s planned parking garage is a step in the right direction

Clemson // Courtesy
The addition of a parking garage is long overdue at Clemson.

If you’re a student who has ever had to commute to Clemson’s campus, then you know what a struggle it is to find parking.
Although it is wonderful that Clemson finally decided to approve a plan to build a parking garage that will be done in a whopping three years, we have to acknowledge that this is long overdue and even a bit underwhelming.

The new garage will provide about 1,200 new spaces, but only about half of those spaces will be available for students, according to a past article from The Tiger. That’s roughly 600 spaces, which just isn’t enough.

Parking has always been an issue at Clemson, but it has been especially frustrating this semester with all of the construction around the University and more commuters than lots can handle.

Still, it’s about time that Clemson started prioritizing the transportation needs of paying students and putting the inconvenience of construction to good use for once.

A parking garage is just what Clemson University has been waiting for, especially for students.

“Not being able to find a spot to park has made me late for class numerous times, which is the reason I have not bought a parking pass the last two semesters,” Evan Bair, a senior philosophy major, told The Tiger.

Parking permits at Clemson are almost a joke without an adequate amount of parking spaces per the number of passes being sold.

“More than two parking permits were sold for every available parking space,” Dan Hofmann, the director of Parking and Transportation Services, revealed, according to a 2021 article from The Tiger.

A parking garage will provide many more opportunities for parking spaces for students and lessen the fight for spots. Not to mention, these new spots will also be convenient and close to campus. Paying students deserve that convenience.

“As a commuter, having to leave an hour prior to my actual class time just to circle around full parking lots is really upsetting,” Courtney Barrett, a senior environmental and natural resources major, said. “Now the campus is trying to put in a new engineering building in the Sirrine employee parking lot, which would displace so many employee spots as well, putting them in the exact same boat as us.”

Clemson is making plans to finish construction of the Advanced Materials Innovation Center by the end of 2025, which will “impact employee parking” near Sirrine Hall and Lehotsky Hall, according to an article from Clemson News published in April.

It seems like Clemson is in a construction and renovation frenzy, which is great for the future of the University but definitely a bit frustrating when it’s for something that will inconvenience students and faculty. However, bringing new parking garages will hopefully limit some of these frustrations, especially as Clemson continues to grow.

“Clemson University announced a 2020 fall semester enrollment of 26,406, up 2.3 percent from the year prior,” according to an article by Clemson News. In 2022, that enrollment number increased to 28,466, according to Clemson’s website, which shows the undergraduate admission statistics.

Clemson’s website also shows enrollment statistics as steadily increasing every year from 2014 to 2022 through an enrollment trend graph.

As the student body continues to grow, it’s important that Clemson accommodate this growth. Clemson seems to be doing well with this by updating buildings around campus and providing more opportunities for a bigger and more diverse student body. However, Clemson is lacking in one area, and that’s parking.

They’ve made big steps by announcing the construction of the first garage ever to be built on Clemson’s campus, and students are hoping for more.

“I think parking garages would be a big help, especially since the parking around campus is always full,” Cristina Mayorova, a first-year graduate student in marketing, explained.

“I am excited for the addition of a parking garage in hopes that it will help with the headache that is student parking,” Blair added.

Students have expressed their frustrations with parking at the University and are looking forward to the new parking garage. This is a good and much-needed change for Clemson that will hopefully lead to more very soon.

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Madison Akers, Asst. Opinion Editor
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