The majority of the USM community agrees with the decision to have a parking garage built on the Portland campus; however, the feelings aren’t as consistent in regards to the increase of parking fees.
Currently a parking decal costs $35. The proposed $4 per credit hour fee will raise the price to $96 next year for a student taking 12 credit hours. Then the following year, the price will go up to $192.
Hossein Miremadi, a junior environmental science major, strongly opposes the price change. He thought the parking garage was a good idea until he heard of the price increase.
“It’s no new news that we need more parking, but the price should be included in tuition. They shouldn’t make us pay more money when they don’t already provide us with that much (parking),” said Miremadi.
Undeclared freshman Brian Manning also feels that the parking garage is a good idea, but costs too much.
“To be honest, the price change basically sucks and it is ridiculous for students to pay that much,” Manning said.
Even though the price to pay for a useful garage is costly, Vice President for Student Development Craig Hutchinson feels it is still necessary to build one.
“The parking garage is necessary in order to build our facility. I’d rather not spend that much money, but we have to in order of improvement and growth,” he said. “Unless we raise prices in order to build the garage, the on-going parking issue won’t be solved.”
Another issue that concerns students, is the fact that faculty and staff will not have to pay any additional fees.
According to Judy Ryan, executive assistant to the president, the University can’t impose new fees on the faculty or staff because parking fees are tied to their contracts. If an increase were to be made, they would have to be negotiated and approved by the individual unions.
Faculty and staff will not be permitted to park in the garage, and the parking lots already in existence will be designated to specific faculty, staff, and student parking.
Jenilee Bryant, a freshman psychology major, hates the parking conditions at USM. She doesn’t agree with the proposed fee either, but feels a small increase would be okay.
“The money shouldn’t come just from students. It should also come from the state or University. They should definitely have a parking garage in Portland though because I have already received a $50 parking ticket because I couldn’t find a spot, so it’s go to class and get a ticket or turn around and go home,” Bryant said.
According to Dewey Ferguson, manager of parking and transportation for USM Police, 50 to 100 complaints a week come through his office about parking tickets during the first two to three weeks of each semester. After that, the complaints slack off to about 10 per week.
“The parking garage is long overdue,” said Ferguson. “It’s costly, but as a University we can’t continue growth without one.”
Bryant feels that faculty and staff not paying more money is justified since they won’t be allowed to use the garage. However, she said they shouldn’t gain any of the parking spaces that students have available to them now.
Miremadi and Manning both agree with Bryant that if the faculty and staff gain some of the students existing spaces, they should pay as well.
“They already have enough parking,” said Miremadi, “I see tons of empty faculty spaces while I’m driving around for 20 minutes looking for a spot.”
Some students feel the Gorham campus needs a parking garage as well.
Freshman criminology major Brian Desrocher said if he had it his way, he wouldn’t take classes in Portland because of the horrendous parking situation. But he feels that Gorham has a bigger parking problem than Portland.
“Not only are there classes held in Gorham, but people reside there as well,” said Desrocher.
Staff writer Aimee Risteen can be contacted at: [email protected]