Tess Sohngen, News Editor
New visitor parking spaces this semester around Shriver Center displaced 150 parking spaces previously metered and used by students, faculty and staff. The change occurred in conjunction with the university’s Admission Visit Center’s move to Shriver Center.
Marked with Miami’s red and white “M,” the parking spaces along Maple Street and the MacMillan and Shriver Center west parking lots are reserved for visitors with an admission office parking permit from 7:00 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day; only those with a Miami University parking permit are permitted to park in the Shriver Center and MacMillan parking lot outside of that time.
Susan Schaurer, assistant vice president and director of admission, said the Office of Admission is excited to have available spaces for guests near Shriver Center.
“We worked closely with the university to make sure we have available parking for our guests because it really impacts the students’ visit,” said Schaurer. “Those first moments really set the stage for their campus visit experience.”
The new location allows the Admission Visit Center to hold 1,000 more guests per week for their twice daily tours Monday through Saturday. Schaurer added that the university’s research showed that applications to the university increased when more students visited the university.
The heavy foot traffic, proximity to the Armstrong Student Center, and visitors’ ease in finding the Admission Visit Center were among the reasons why the university supported the move and parking changes, according to Schaurer and Capt. Benjamin Spilman, Director of Parking and Transportation Services. Capt. Spilman said that the new center for visitors is “leaps and bounds ahead of where they were in the Campus Avenue Building.
“[The Admission Visit Center] needed to be sure they had a place for visitors to park, not that they were hunting around campus looking for an available spot and then have to find their way back to the Admission’s Welcome Center,” said Spilman. “We’re optimistic that this is going to meet their need.”
Some students are not happy about the cut in available parking for students in that part of campus.
“I think that the new parking locations make sense considering admissions in now located in Shriver, but I think they changed too much of the parking on Maple Street,” said Sabina Bashir, an RA in Minnich Hall.
Students who previously parked near Shriver Center have had to park near Pulley Tower, including Integrated Environmental Science graduate students Anna Jean Petroff and Michael Browne.
“It’s already surprisingly hard to find a parking spot after 9:30 a.m., and it seems like the university keeps taking more away… without adding new spots,” said Petroff.
Browne said that he has to find parking at Pulley Tower’s parking lot before 9:30 a.m. or else he won’t find a spot close to where he works.
Shriver Center’s east parking lot was changed from meters to employee parking to accommodate for some of the lost parking spaces for employees, many whom have been pushed further from the center of campus for parking.
“The biggest thing that we’ve tried to do is simplify the parking system,” said Spilman. He said the number of different parking permits and regulations were overwhelming when he was an undergraduate student at Miami University in the early 1990s.
More changes for parking on campus will continue to make up for some of the lost parking spaces. Parking and Transportation Services will install parking meters on Shriver Circle this semester to create short-term parking options that do not require any parking pass and on the Cook Field parking lot, which will occur this summer.