Record Enrollment at UTPB Leaves Many Students Looking for a Place to Park

by Victor Lopez
NewsWest 9

ODESSA--There are two sides to every issue.  Depending on who you talk to, either there is or there isn't a parking problem on UTPB campus.

While the police department says they're doing what they can to ease the situation, some students we spoke to say it's not enough, "I've been coming here 3 years and every year it gets worse and worse.  There was a parking problem 3 years ago.  Students keep coming and they don't do anything to increase parking."

Depending on the day and time, the parking lots at UTPB look like the mall at Christmas time, people waiting for the next open spot.  But according to UTPB Police Sgt. Robert Hammerman, the spaces are there, it's just a matter of getting the almost 3700 students to use them, "We're finding that the students of today want to park right by the front door and certainly we can't have thousands of people parking by the front door."

This semester, in an effort to help things run a little more smoothly, UTPB officials are allowing students to do something they never have before.  Sgt. Hammerman explains, "What we did this year, with the blessing of Dr. Watts, is allow parking on our outer circle, at the curb line.  It's an effort to accommodate the students that are coming in and trying to get them parked as close to the Mesa lot as we can."

And parking close is a very important convenience to some students.  Even with parking available near the gym, the Visual Arts Studio and the library.  We caught up to students as they were leaving the Mesa Building.  One said, "My classes are right here, so I park closer."  While another commented on the other parking areas, "They're convenient, but sometimes they are just as full as this lot too."

Sgt. Hammerman says allowing parking along the circle has been a great benefit.  But parking there does have certain requirements, "Parking on the circle is allowed as long as it's the outer curb line, the furthest curb line.  It's the curb line that allows for the most parking."

If you park along the inside curb, don't be surprised to find a warning on your windshield asking you not to do it again.  That's because they are reserving that curb line for emergency vehicles, if the need arises.

Sgt Hammerman tells NewsWest 9, the start of this semester has been the smoothest one so far, as far as parking and traffic go.  He says there's always going to be someone who's not happy with what's being done, but they are trying to address the masses.