‘Ridiculous’ parking changes

Parking costs are expected to increase while on-campus parking spots decrease as Northern Kentucky University continues to try and improve transportation. Holly Little, a Student Government Association (SGA) Senator appointed to represent students on a university transportation advisory committee, revealed these plans during her report to the student governing body on Oct. 25, where the SGA also considered the issues of expanding library hours and securing current campus recreation hours of operation with more permanent funding.

Little confirmed what SGA members heard at their last meeting from campus planning representative Mary Paula Schuh: a new campus road project will destroy 750 current on-campus parking spaces, and NKU is unsure of if and how the parking spaces will be replaced.

SGA Senator Josh Moermond expressed disfavor in the university not establishing a plan for replacing the parking spaces when it made the plan to destroy them.

“Sounds to me that (the university planners) don’t really have their act together,” Moermond said. “That’s really frustrating to hear I think…the fact that they don’t have a definite plan and this is happening in a year is kind of ridiculous.”

The university is studying whether or not to expand the Kenton Garage to accommodate more parking as part of the road project, but the problem is coming in how such a project will be funded, both reported.

Parking Services at NKU is considered an auxiliary service, meaning it does not receive tuition dollars or state support and must pay for its own fundraising which it achieves through student, staff and visitor parking fees.

However, Little announced another plan in the works to deal with the parking issue. University officials are considering the utilization of off-campus parking spots in Cold Spring combined with a shuttle service to fill the need, an alternative she acknowledged that will still likely result in higher parking fees. A vacant furniture store parking lot located behind Wendy’s and Burger King on U.S. 27 is being considered.

NKU students currently pay $195 for a full-year parking pass and 12-month faculty passes are $314.

The Student Rights Committee wants to investigate whether students are adequately served by the current hours at the W. Frank Steely Library, with a special concern for whether or not the library should open earlier to meet student needs. Currently, it opens at 8 a.m. on Monday through Friday, leaving students who have class beginning at the time without a place to print assignments and class resources.

SGA Senator Mikey Adkins developed a survey to submit to students asking about their library use preferences. Paul Bell, chair of the committee, said he ran the survey past a faculty member familiar with good research methods. However, several members of the SGA had comments and suggestions for improving the survey before it was released, particularly due to its length. The Committee is currently revising and developing a plan for the best way to get the survey out to an adequate sample of students — including whether to conduct it online or in person.

Matt Hackett, director of the Campus Recreation Center, addressed the SGA during open session to thank them for the work they have done on passing the resolution suggesting NKU study whether a new center should be built. He also called on SGA to support a permanent funding plan for the CRC, instead of the one-time investments SGA has proposed for in the past.

He admitted that without a renewal of the level of funding from last year, the CRC cannot maintain the current hours of operation and would have to reduce them by two hours.

Meanwhile, the committee chair responsible for passing the resolution to study expanding or replacing the center, Michelle Forlenza, is admitting that the proposal is facing a serious public relations problem. She said a recent poll taken in one of her classes asked about the planned changes to the CRC and she was the only student who even knew it was being considered.

“Really try to talk it up,” Forlenza said. “It’s going to effect everybody. They need to know sooner rather than later.”

Vice President Danielle Hawks recommended the new senators for committee appointments. Alexandra Hedges and David Bonilla were appointed to Student Rights and Emily Parker was appointed to University Improvements. Hedges also works as a photographer for The Northerner.

Story by Jesse Call