Student Center parking lot unavailable for students

When the multi-million dollar Student Center was finally completed after numerous delays, many students were under the impression that the accompanying parking lot would also be available for their use. However, sources have indicated that it will be reserved for the exclusive use of people attending events held in the Center’s Ballroom. 

This parking lot will serve as reserved parking, visitor parking, disabled parking and 30 minute parking only. The parking lot requires reserved parking passes which are $262 a semester, not general passes ($94), which a majority of students purchase due to the cost difference. 

The parking lot will be used to accommodate guests of the ballroom in the Student Center. The ballroom is largest facility of its kind in Sonoma County, holding roughly 1,300 people. Some students feel frustrated not being able to use the new parking lot after paying for the construction of the Student Center through many campus fees, which is an annual amount of $300.

“With this being my second year of living off campus, it has always been a struggle to find parking during each semester,” says Karenna Soto, a third year student. “I think it is unfair that they built a large parking lot but won’t allow us to park in it when I have to leave 30 minutes before class just so I have time to park and get to my classes.”

It is rumored that the parking lot will open sometime this month, however a lack of parking space may be an issue students will have to continue to deal with.  

“I think it is beneficial to have the new parking lot be reserved only because by hosting events on campus, especially the new Student Center, you want these organizations to be able to find parking immediately rather than have to search for parking on a campus that they are not familiar with,” said University Box Office specialist Carly LaBare. “By having outside groups being satisfied with the ease of access at SSU, parking included, they will want to come back and host more of their events here.”

With the amount of space in the ballroom, it is crucial to have parking available for guests. The Green Music Center has a separate parking lot, which is much bigger than the parking lot made for the ballroom. 

Parking plays a large role at events held at the Green Music Center. Many students are under the impression that parking is free for guests whereas students are required to have a permit to park in the Green Music center lot. 

 “We do charge parking for events. Parking is paid in the ticket cost, so it isn’t free,” said Jessica Way, director for the Student Center and Event Operations. 

The Student Center is a large part of Sonoma State that will draw a lot of people to the campus. Parking has always been a campus-wide issue for students, but having this parking lot reserved is crucial for the Student Center.