The 5 percent increase of first-time freshman at Missouri Western may give the impression that parking will be even more difficult for commuting students.
However, the numbers show that finding a spot before class should be easier.
According to Tyson Schank, Western’s dean of admissions, parking is always a “number one issue” on national student satisfaction surveys.
“Parking is always going to be a very high priority for students and a very low satisfaction, because they can’t park directly in front of the door,” Schank said.
Schank also explained that the overall number of students attending this fall semester is down by nearly 150 students despite the rise in first-time freshmen.
Western has admitted a whopping 1,064 first-time freshman this semester, and only around 500 of them are without housing contracts and are commuting.
Director of Residential Life Nathan Roberts also believes parking is not an issue at Western. “This honestly seems like a very good campus to park at and I’ve worked at campuses where you park very remotely from anywhere,” Roberts said. “The parking around the University seems phenomenal to me.”
According to Roberts, there are currently 1,331 Western students who live on campus. This leaves roughly 3,830 off-campus students who have to find general parking spots throughout each day.
Risk Manager Tim Kissock believes that parking has improved on campus and will continue to become more efficient for commuting students for a number of reasons.
Kissock explained that the university has hired a firm to create a long-term master plan for Western. This firm will look at many aspects of campus life, including parking and traffic.
Kissock said another reason that parking will become easier is due to the growing number of online courses that are being offered at Western.
“We’re offering more classes online, which relieves some of the pressure,” Kissock said.
The current number of students enrolled in online classes at Western is just over 3,000. This does not mean that all of these students are spending that time off campus.
Due to the Department of Parking and Security Services declining to comment on this issue, the exact number of “white spaces” available for commuters is unknown at this time.
Western currently has ten parking lots dedicated to off-campus students, including the recently added Lot I near the Griffon Indoor Sports Complex and the overflow lot located near Lot C.