UTPB Gears Up For Their Largest Spring Graduation

by Victor Lopez
NewsWest 9

ODESSA-- If you have a loved one walking the stage, there's some things you'll need to know if you want to see it happen.

UTPB is expecting 353 students to receive their diplomas.  If each of them brings all their family and friends, it won't be a pretty sight when it comes to finding a place to park.  Campus police want to make sure that doesn't happen.

"We're trying to accommodate everybody, which is a monumental task," UTPB Police Sgt., Robert Hammerman, said.

Officials are expecting the campus will be packed with cars of friends, family and faculty taking part in the outdoor spring graduation on Saturday morning.

According to Hammerman, "We're telling our professors, we're telling everyone, get here early.  It starts at nine.  If you're planning on arriving on campus between a quarter of nine and nine o'clock, you're going to find it very difficult."

All the parking lots on campus will surely fill up quick.  So they've made some arrangements for extra parking.  A lot has been cleared on the south campus next to student housing.  ECISD is allowing UTPB to use the Nimitz Jr. High parking lot across the street.  Even the City of Odessa is chipping in to help create about 400 more parking spaces.

"We'll close a portion of Parkway from University, north to Maple Street," Hammerman said.

Two EZ-Rider buses will be on hand to shuttle people from the new, make-shift parking to the graduation site.   Hammerman says, accommodations will be provided for handicapped parking too, "I have an entire parking lot, right next to the site, it's called the Devonian lot, it's right next to our library.  That parking lot will be designated for handicapped parking."

According to Sgt.. Hammerman, the most important things to remember is get there early, carpool if you can and cooperate with police who will be managing the parking, "We will go out of our way to accommodate the best we can.   We will create as safe an environment as possible."

A shaded area, sun block and water will be available for sun-sensitive guests.  Officials recommend drivers avoid the north bound lanes of Parkway, between University and Maple, until after the graduation ceremony is over, around 11:00a.m.