‘You’ve got to believe it’s getting better, getting better all the time’

Since coming to TCU in 2002, there has yet to be a day when I haven’t heard someone complain about parking.I have said on numerous occasions that TCU seems incapable of dealing with the problem. Is a parking garage really too much to ask for?

It’s not like TCU hasn’t addressed the parking problem quite readily: the TRAC shuttle for commuters, a new parking lot at Berry and Stadium, the construction of a parking lot in the old Sav-On location at Berry and Sandage and even tearing down university-owned property on Lubbock to create more faculty parking. There will be 900 new parking places by the end of this semester. Can anyone say the administration didn’t hear the complaints?

Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Don Mills said a parking garage is planned, but homeowners closest to campus don’t want TCU to build one.

“Our consultants advised us to build more surface (parking) lots until traffic patterns determine the best location for centralized parking,” Mills said.

When I set out to write this editorial, I thought I would end up attacking the administration for lack of planning. The evidence seemed to line up: Students are living in lounges of dorms because of overcrowding and the earliest a new dorm is due for completion is 2007. The Bailey Building is long overdue for renovation, therefore, the School of Education doesn’t have proper facilities, according to TCU Outlook.

TCU built a parking lot on land, which Mills, in a spring 2004 Skiff article, said was too valuable to remain as such, and now they are building yet another parking lot on Berry Street.

Did you see the flaw in this logic? I just complained about constructing a parking lot. How can I be both for and against additional parking when I know the administration is attempting to keep many groups happy at the same time?

The overcrowding story was the next element of my attack that turned out to be flawed.

After our Residential Services reporter did a little digging, I was informed that the majority of the people living in dorm lounges prefer their current lodging to traditional dorm rooms. For some reason, they preferred having a kitchen and an overall larger room.

I then started to think about misallocation of capital. Did the school really need archway gates at Stadium and Berry right now? Aesthetics are important, but that money could have been used to help meet the $10.5 million needed to expand the Bailey Building.

When I asked Mills about the cost of the gate, and gates planned for other locations around campus, he pointed out that the gates were paid for by gifts to the school and would likely vary in cost from $100,000 to $250,000.

Even if the gates weren’t built, the money wouldn’t have made a dent in the amount needed to expand the School of Education’s facilities. As gifts to the campus, construction of the gates had no bearing on any of the planned expansions as they didn’t touch the school’s capital.

As for the university’s out-of-pocket expansions, projects needing an infusion of capital will be given a boost soon enough.

“There is a new capital campaign in the planning stages which will begin in spring or summer of 2006,” Mills said. “This campaign will help raise the money needed for many projects around campus.”

Yes, the parking situation is far from perfect. Yes, buildings are in need of renovation and new buildings are needed. As much as we complain, however, the university is working very hard to do all of these things. We, as students here for only four short years, must realize that major overhauls and expansions take more time than we will be around to witness.

It may be a hard truth to swallow when you fight for parking near your class while running late and miss the TRAC bus when you finally give up, but things really are getting better.