Created by: Carmen Lizarraga, Lizet Sotelo, Norman Lintz, and Patricia Meza.
Just like any other student enrolled at Arizona Western College on the various campuses. I drive every morning to the San Luis Learning Center hoping to get the best nearby parking space. Let me tell you this is not the easiest task. Especially after Omar Heredia our school counselor provided a report where it states that SLLC enrolled 1,480 students during the fall semester of 2013. “The number of students have increase over the years which is amazing” as stated by Omar and I might add we gave 21 staff members, 20 to 50 faculty members, two maintenance personnel, one security guard, and only 116 available parking spots. Somehow students, faculty, service providers and unexpected guests have managed to find a parking space every time we are rushing into the campus.
Don’t take this information the wrong way. Our campus clearly needs improvement in our parking facilities, but our beautiful campus provides a great deal of service to our small community. Seven years ago our community didn’t have a college in San Luis. Students needed to drive all the way to the main campus located in Yuma where the parking issues were even worst. A bigger campus holds larger amounts of students, therefore; more students, means more parking issues. During the fall semester the Yuma campus enrolled 6,486 students. Clearly we have a smaller campus, but with the same quality of service than the main campus. To give you a better understanding of what I’m talking about let me explain the following:
- The layout and availability of our parking area is simple. The 116 spaces include one teacher of the year spot and five handicapped spaces. You do the math. In reality that only leaves us with 110 marked parking spaces and only 18 extra parking spaces along the side of the curve by the fence line to park. Can you believe it? Some others decided to park outside the fence when there is just not enough room to park. There is a designated area were the public bus picks up students who are traveling to the main campus. Also, students arriving to campus on their bicycles can leave their rides on the designated bike racks that can hold 15 bikes. Finally, students arriving by some other means of transportation like rides or taxis can be easily drop off in front of the building main entrance making it easier for students to arrive to class on time. Just like we all like to do, right?
- Security is very important for everyone. I was reading this article the other day written by Gary R. Cook, who is a well-known engineer in the State of California and owner of Security Design Sciences in Ventura, CA. He mentions statistically speaking that about 80% of criminal acts take place in a parking lot. On campus as reported by our part-time security officer, “There have not been any serious incidents reported since the opening of the center; no carjacking’s, fires or more extreme incidents.” In contrast too many other states across the United States. We have luckily only had small incidents like someone putting their stuff on top of somebody else’s car and things of that nature.
- AWC’s parking, not counting parking spaces, has quite a few good aspects. For one, it’s well lighted, which is very important for students taking evening classes. To help keep our parking lot clean there are three trash cans placed in front of our parking lot area. It’s free of charge for students and of course for faculty members. A police officer patrols the campus parking lot once a day.
- The bad and the ugly: living in Arizona means dealing with awkward weather conditions especially during summer and rainy seasons. Unfortunately, I have to report we don’t have a shaded parking area like the one on the main campus, which makes the walk to the car dreadful in the very common scorching weather or when it miraculously rains. Since we do live in a desert, those miraculously rainy days are never a blessing. Especially when there are no parking spaces available, and you have to park next to the canal, on the thick mud. You’re running the risk of having either you or your sandals getting stuck in the mud. Believe me! You don’t want to end up walking to your classroom barefoot and muddy.
Other related parking issues not only on campus, but on parking lots in general.
Over all we need renovations and improvements in our parking lot area. As mention on this article AWC is already taking into consideration expanding which is a good place to start. Another solution could be to spread out classes ten minutes apart to provide sufficient time for students to leave the area and leave room for new students come in. Finally, our campus can be looking into installing solar panels just like AWC’s main campus has done it. Arizona Western College San Luis Campus offers a great service to the community. We need the help and support from everyone to make AWC San Luis Campus a competitive and well known college; not only for students currently enroll, but also for future generations. AWC has giving us so much knowledge and opportunities. Now it’s time for us to give something back to AWC.