Two of the three levels of the College of the Canyons parking structure are scheduled to be open when the spring semester begins Feb. 4, Vice President of Public Information Eric Harnish said. That’s 1,106 of the 1,659 planned spaces.
Harnish said the structure, funded through Measure E at a cost of $21 million, will add a net 1,000 spaces.
While the structure was being built, the school closed about 700 spaces in Lot 7, turned the about 160-space staff Lot 2, located off College Circle at Rockwell Canyon Road, into a student and visitor lot, moved the staff onto the upper athletic field behind the east wing of the University Center – which worked until recent rains closed it – offered $5 discounts using Uber or Lyft, turned Lot 4 into a carpool-only lot, created an off-site parking lot on Magic Mountain Parkway near Tournament Road.
College board Vice President Michael Berger said the additional parking would benefit students and faculty alike. He said that student and COC Foundation surveys regularly placed parking problems as the top concern, and a majority of students he hears from have expressed excitement at having additional parking.
About the only complaint he’s heard is how many current students are graduating and won’t be around to enjoy it.
Not everybody’s pleased that the college is spending what it is. Local activist Steve Petzold said he has spoken to faculty members who question why the school is prioritizing this and not on things that would help in the classroom.
And Berger said this last month on SCV TV: “We only have a problem the first two weeks of school. … Once we have that (parking structure), it’ll probably eliminate the problems we have during the most difficult time, the first two weeks of the semester.”
Berger and Harnish admitted the first two weeks are the most crowded. Harnish said that’s because students are making additional trips to campus, perhaps to buys books, take care of financial aid or add classes. “People haven’t settled into a predictable rhythm,” he said.
Furthermore, Measure E also currently funds a 55,000 square-foot science center on the Canyon Country campus, and Harnish said the state doesn’t fund parking at community colleges because it’s not considered a student service.
“It seems like a basic student service,” Harnish said. “If they can’t park, they can’t get to class.”
Berger said the growth reports he has seen clearly justify the expense. While he acknowledged the structure will not be full during off-peak hours (generally 1-6 p.m.), it will be during the 8 a.m.-noon and 7-10 p.m. peak times.
“We’ve solved it for now,” Berger said of the parking problem. “The demand is certainly there. The need is definitely there.”