Parking structure levels academics

A multi-million dollar investment will soon become a reality this fall on the University of La Verne campus — an investment that supporters say will present a concrete solution to a longtime problem that faces not only our institution but the city of La Verne as well.

The thing is, the solution is literally concrete.

A five-level parking structure is set to break ground this October. This parking structure was pulled to the top of the University’s Master Plan last fall, with administration insisting that a parking structure should come before any other capital projects.

What comes into question from this decision is the University’s priorities. Is a parking structure really the University’s highest priority at this point in time – higher than a new academic building – if as it seems we must choose?

University officials say the city is putting the University under pressure to solve the campus parking problems – a result of a huge increase in enrollment over the past five years – that have spilled over to downtown La Verne.

A city parking study conducted last summer found that University constituents were a majority of the parking problem in downtown.

City business owners expressed distress to the city council, because if patrons cannot find parking, then that affects downtown businesses’ success.

The University is so integrated within the city, so it’s understandable that our parking problems become theirs.

However prioritizing parking puts a much needed academic building on hold.

Parking is, without a doubt, a problem here on campus — but it should not be the priority for this academic institution at this juncture.

If there are academic departments that are underfunded and seriously lacking in resources and space, shouldn’t those problems be addressed first?

The Master Plan is the University’s vision of how the campus will look in the near future.

With this comes the expectation, or at least the hope, that there will be more students experiencing a campus that will have more academic buildings, labs, centers and more.

Anticipating future growth, including new programs, and not planning to increase already overtaxed academic facilities is severely problematic.

Building a parking structure will undoubtedly solve parking issues, but it won’t do anything to serve the learning experiences of students in the near future.

University constituents will have to go through a year of inconveniences while this monstrosity of a parking structure is under construction, which in the end will offer more parking options and may appease local restaurateurs, but won’t substantially enhance the “La Verne Experience” of the near future.

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