A well-known grievance on college campuses has long been the inability to find parking, and Samford is no exception.
“There is always an adjustment period for every term,” Tommy Taylor, Chief Officer in the Department of Public Safety at Samford, said. “Fall term certainly has the most challenges as students return and learn to navigate the campus and better identify permit assigned areas, parking options, best availability times for specific areas, and when to avoid congested areas.”
Taylor recommends students ride the Sam Trams to reduce congestion and help students get to class on time.
“The routes and times are specifically designed to best expedite the flow of students across campus, with minimal parking challenges,” he said.
Senior Psychology major Chloe Pappa commutes from an apartment building off campus. She said most days she has to park by the Art Lofts to find a spot.
“I show up to my classes usually 30 minutes before so that I have time to circle each commuter lot a few times,” Pappa said. “It usually takes me about 15 minutes to find a parking spot near my classes.”
Junior Theatre major Gracen Fisk is also a commuter student. Her experience has been that finding parking becomes more difficult the later in the day it is.
“I normally park in the Vail commuter lot or law commuter lot,” Fisk said. “Because I drive an electric car, I have a spot I park in at the law lot to charge my car during classes. Additionally, because I am a theatre major and study most often in the theatre building, I move my car after 4:30 to the staff lot next to the Wright Center loading dock.”
Taylor said he urges students to be patient, as multiple renovation and construction projects on campus have contributed to taking up parking spaces. Samford Hall, Sherman Circle, Buchanan Hall, and the Athletics Press Box are all undergoing major projects that require construction equipment on site.
“A prime example is the Wright Center. If you look right beside the Wright Center, right next to Divinity, that entire parking lot now is empty,” Taylor said. “There’s a lot of spaces there that people are not allowed to park.”
Taylor said he believes that as these projects come to a close, it will become easier to find parking on campus.
The Samford Campus Master Plan, published in 2016, offers even more hope that parking will become less of a problem in the future. The plan includes expanding existing parking throughout campus and constructing a new West Gate parking deck.
While finding parking can be frustrating, big changes are coming soon that have the potential to alleviate those challenges.