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Parking problems continue to plague Shepherd University

August 19, 2008|By DAVE McMILLION

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. -- The place is rockin' and there is little room to park.

Shepherd University started classes Monday, flooding the small town of Shepherdstown with thousands of students.

Streets that were quiet over the summer were transformed with students zipping up and down them in vehicles, some thumping out loud beats from stereos.

As usual, the challenge was where to park them all.

"Parking is horrible," Shepherd junior Karen Lutman said as she took a break on a bench along High Street Monday afternoon.

Lutman said part of her regular daily routine is driving around town looking for a parking spot so she can get to class.

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She pointed to a commuter parking lot available to students behind Snyder Hall at the intersection of High and King streets.

But Lutman said if she's not at the parking lot by 7 a.m., she is out of luck.

"I get a lot of parking tickets," Lutman said.

John Ritter was spending his first day as a Shepherd Ram on Monday.

The Winchester, Va., resident transferred from Lord Fairfax Community College in Middletown, Va., and will be pursuing a math degree.

Although Ritter said he liked Shepherd so far and people were nice, he also was battling the parking space shortage.

"I don't know if I'm parked legally right now," Ritter said.

"The parking here is pretty bad," added Shepherd junior Jake Karlosky.

Karlosky said he knows students who try to park at the new nursing building on the east campus and who usually get towed.

Shepherd University spokeswoman Valerie Owens acknowledged the squeeze on parking at the school.

There is plenty of parking on the west campus but many students want to drive to the east campus a short distance away, Owens said.

"Don't we all want to park by the mall front door?" Owens asked.

Shepherd officials have tried to alleviate the east campus parking crunch by contracting with the PanTran bus to run a shuttle system between the two campuses, Owens said. For free, students can climb aboard buses between 7:30 a.m. and 9 p.m. for a ride to either campus, Owens said.

If students bring a car to Shepherd, they must get a permit that allows them to park in some lots, Owens said.

Owens said school officials want to build a parking garage on the west campus but there is no funding for the project. Not only would the parking garage free up more spaces for students, it would provide more parking for the Center for Creative Arts as the facility and its theater productions expand, Owens said.

Owens did not have an enrollment estimate for Shepherd on Monday, saying the figure would not be available until mid-October when the school does its official count. In past years, the school's full-time enrollment has been roughly around 3,500.

The school has been plagued by a lack of dormitory space in recent years, but that problem has been corrected with the opening of new residence halls on the west campus, Owens said.

Some students said Monday that some of their classes were larger than they expected.

Owens said students can add and drop classes, which can affect class sizes.

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