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LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) -
Parking is not a new issue at McNeese, and officials are hoping that the new parking garage makes the process of finding a spot a little easier. But what happens until then?
Some seniors are very unhappy with the way McNeese is choosing to deal with the issue.
"There is adequate parking space every day for students when they come to class, because not all 8,000 students come at the same time," said Candace Townsend, Director of Public Relations at McNeese.
With the fall semester now underway, McNeese students are already upset about parking. The Student Government Association provided an open forum Monday at a town hall meeting for students.
"What we wanted to do was give an opportunity for the facts to be released, to have clear information given, and also a way for the students to voice their concerns," said Student Body President Davante Lewis.
Lewis led the meeting with other faculty members of the Parking Task Force Committee.
"The meetings today have really helped give some more insight and some more knowledge for myself, and for the students, for the parking situation, what to do, and how to make it better," said Lewis.
In the old Charles Cinema lot, there are lots of open parking spots, specifically for McNeese students. So what's the real issue?
Upperclassmen say it's not about the lack of parking, but rather about all of the parking lots now being open to all students, when before they were divided by seniority.
"We have to look at the situation and understand that we don't have a parking problem at McNeese, we have a walking problem," said Lewis. "The parking lots are not far from the campus. I've walked before from the stadium back for baseball game, football game. It's about a five to seven minute walk."
Several seniors at the meeting questioned Lewis about the decision, many saying they felt it was very unfair.
"I feel the change was the best thing," said Lewis. "I stand by this change. I support the change. I think it is the best investment in our university."
Townsend says once the parking garage is complete, hopefully in March, the parking situation will be more convenient and safer for students.
"Hopefully with the parking garage, and the edition of almost 900 new parking spaces in that garage, what it will do is eliminate the need for students to have to park in the lots that are off campus," said Townsend.
Students will be given two more opportunities to ask questions and share their opinions about the parking issue this week.
The SGA will hold another meeting on Wednesday at 4 p.m. in Baker Auditorium and again on Thursday at 9:30 a.m. in the LaJeunesse Room.
None of the seniors in attendance at the meeting chose to speak on camera about the issue.