High school football games over weekend will change parking at WKU

Nick Bratcher

When Smith Stadium hosts the KHSAA state football championships Friday and Saturday, an expected 35,000 fans will be on WKU’s campus throughout the two-day period.

Parking Services is also making some changes to accommodate for the influx of visitors that will require some extra measures by students this Friday and Saturday.

Both the commuter Parking Structure No. 2 — located between Diddle Arena and Smith Stadium — and the Creason Lot will be used exclusively for paid public parking all day.

Parking Services requires all students to remove their vehicles from the Creason lot by 5 p.m. Thursday to avoid a $100 fine.

“WKU Housing students who normally use Creason Lot should park in other housing lots or Chestnut South Lot,” Parking Services stated in a press release.

Sturgis freshman Riley Hall lives in Keen Hall and owns a housing permit for on-campus parking.

Despite Parking Services sending warning emails to students about the 5 p.m. deadline, Hall said he thought he “had to be out by Friday sometime.”

“Creason’s a big lot, and there’s going to be a lot of cars having to move out, so all the other lots are going to fill up quick too,” he said. “I’m paying $90. I figured they would at least give us some other place to park.”

During last year’s Gridiron Bowl, Parking Services had all student vehicles towed that caused a crowding issue. A temporary lot at the Bowling Green Hot Rods Stadium was also opened to accommodate for students displaced by the influx of vehicles.

Jennifer Tougas, director of Parking and Transportation, could not be reached for comment on whether towing might be enforced this year.

Nashville freshman Nathan Garcia lives in Keen Hall and owns a housing parking permit. He said the changes in parking were understandable.

“I guess it’s not really that big of a deal,” he said. “It’s one weekend. I’ll find somewhere else to park.”

For commuter students who usually park in PS2 or Chestnut South Lot, Parking Services encouraged use of the Center Street Gravel Lot or the park and ride lots which shuttle students from remote parking spaces to campus.

Buses run from the Campbell Lane and South Campus lots every five to eight minutes for commuting students.

The surface lots around Diddle Arena, the South Lawn Lot between the Downing University Center and Preston Health and Fitness Center, and the Russellville Road Lot will also be reserved exclusively for game officials and media.

Parking Structure No. 1 — located up the Hill from Diddle Arena on Avenue of Champions – will be used for excess public parking starting at 3 p.m. on Friday and continuing all day Saturday. Unlike the Creason Lot, students are not required to leave that structure.

Scottsville freshman Matt Wade commutes to campus Mondays through Fridays each week. He said he is worried about finding a place to park on Friday.

“When they’re not even having state games or basketball games, you still don’t have a parking spot on a regular day here,” he said while exiting PS2 Monday. “You’ve got to park in Egypt or somewhere else and walk.”

Parking Services also said in the press release that students will notice a heavier congestion of traffic Friday and Saturday and should plan accordingly.

Game times are at 11 a.m., 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. both days.

After each game, traffic exiting PS2 will be directed north onto University Boulevard to Kentucky Street. Traffic exiting PS1 will be directed east onto College Heights Boulevard. Traffic exiting the Creason Lot will be directed south on Creason Drive to Emmett Avenue.

The right lane of Avenue of Champions closest to Diddle Arena will also be closed to traffic on Friday and Saturday.