SDSU parking to change with transition to walking campus

Jill Fier

Jill Fier

It’s a complaint that can be heard virtually every day on campus. There is no place to park here.

Well that’s not exactly true. It’s difficult to find a parking spot if you are not willing to walk from outlying areas like north of the library, the HPER and Frost Arena. But Michael Reger, Vice President of Administration, says that’s all a part of the plan.

Four years ago, South Dakota State University had a master plan drafted to illustrate what the layout of the campus will ideally be in 50 years.

Reger said the main reason for this change is because the increasing number of people, and cars, coming onto campus every day is becoming dangerous.

“Where is the worst possible place to be walking on campus at noon? Right here by the heating plant,” he said, refering to Rotunda Lane, which runs through the center of campus.

“Everybody in the world has to drive on that street, and almost every student has to cross that street. We’ve been exceptionally lucky we’ve had very few injuries on campus, but as the campus grows and more students have vehicles, we needed to start planning 50 years out and decide where we want to be,” Reger said.

Small changes have already been made, like the additions paved parking lots by the Performing Arts Center and between the HPER Center and Frost Arena.

When completed, extreme changes on campus will include the elimination of many popular internal parking lots, like the lot north of NFA, the lots directly north and west of Yeager Hall.

Reger said that although no new buildings have been planned yet, the vacant areas where the lots used to be could then be future building sites.

A new road to loop around campus will connect with Medary Avenue and expand on and take the place of North Campus Drive.

Because this main access road will be further out around campus and connect to all the outlying student parking, a shuttle bus will pick students up at designated times and drop them off at spesific points near the library, the Union, the Rotunda and the HPER with enough time to get students to classes.

Reger said he would like to see the shuttle system work with the public transportation system the city of Brookings has.

“I think when we move toward a shuttle bus system, it would make perfect sense to coordinate that with what the city already has in the Brookings Area transportation system now. It doesn’t make any sense to have two separate systems not work with each other. We need to figure out how we can connect with their regular routes,” he said.

Although current students probably won’t be here to see the final product of the campus transition, Reger said student should not expect any new parking spaces within campus.

“I don’t think we want to pave the entire center of campus so people can park right next to a building, that just doesn’t make sense,” Reger added.

“And we’re going to run out of space very quickly unless we want to start paving over places like the Campus Green and Rotunda Green. I don’t think that’s the direction that any of us want the campus to go, to become just one big asphalt lot.”