Kaylee Hoisington watched the gas meter on her car slowly drop while driving around campus for up to 35 minutes searching for a parking spot last semester.
Now, after utilizing the parking garage on Jenkins since its opening Jan. 14, psychology junior Hoisington’s quest for a spot has been reduced to five to 10 minutes.
“I think it makes it a lot easier to find parking,” Hoisington said. “My first trip here it was kind of confusing because it’s a different setup than the other parking garages on campus, but I like that it’s a little more open and the spaces are wider, so it’s easier to drive and find a parking spot.”
The $28 million five-floor facility is located on Jenkins Avenue south of Lindsey Street and offers 1,221 parking spaces.
Vicky Holland, manager of operations for OU Parking and Transportation Services, said the garage is fully functional, but parking services is currently working to install a parking guidance system to be completed by March.
This new technology will add exterior electronic signs to indicate the number of parking spots available within the lot at any given time. There will also be lights above each parking space that flash red if a space is filled and green if it is available.
Various sections of the lot will be blocked off as necessary while these enhancements are installed, Holland said.
Holland said the new garage was built because the campus sorely needed additional parking after a lot was removed to build the residential colleges. Since then, a 405-space Asp Avenue parking lot was demolished in mid-December to make room for new housing and a 1,000-space parking garage, Holland said.
“That’s why it was important for us to get the Jenkins garage open this semester,” Holland said.
Several students who parked in the Jenkins parking facility said they liked it and spent less time finding parking than they had before the garage's opening.
Rubie Hays, elementary education junior, said she used to park at the Duck Pond lot but has since parked in the Jenkins garage and likes the convenience of its proximity to the South Oval.
“With the Duck Pond I would drive around for, like, 20 minutes trying to find a parking spot, so I’d have to leave extra early for class,” Hays said. “And then with this one, I pulled in, like, at 8:45 for my 9 a.m. and I found a spot really quickly.”
Despite positive reactions to the garage, others expressed concerns. Economics senior John Tygret, who has parked in the garage twice, said he thinks the parking situation has improved for now but will be a nightmare when students move into the residential colleges in the fall.
“Both times have been fairly easy, but when the residential colleges open up, they’re going to be parking here, and it’s just going to be more students and less spots,” Tygret said.
Holland said she is not certain how the garage's availability will be affected by the opening of the residential colleges.
While Hoisington said she likes the new garage, she said she thinks there are still improvements to be made to the parking situation at OU.
“I think overall parking has improved with the parking garage, but I think there could be more parking, definitely,” Hoisington said.