Hundreds of students park at the SKyPAC lot on Center Street each day.
But what most of them probably don’t know is that they’re parking on land for a future arts center. Many of them won’t see the Southern Kentucky Performing Arts Center when it is actually built.
These days, there are questions of what will become of the parking lot. The SKyPAC board said that it wants to move SKyPAC from Center Street to the 10-block downtown area in Bowling Green’s redevelopment district. Board chairman Rick McCue said the move will help speed the construction of the center and continue efforts to revitalize the downtown area.
If the board decides to move, both it and Western, who is currently leasing the land, will have to decide what to do with the land.
The SKyPAC board made many promises to Western when they first leased this land to the university. First of all, it promised that Western’s arts programs would be allowed to use the facility to hold classes, workshops and performances. It also promised that students would be allowed to park in a large parking lot that would be built adjacent to the center.
The board, as it’s making its decision to move or not move, should consider these promises. McCue said the center could have space designated for Western’s arts programs regardless of the center’s final location. McCue should seriously push for this plan as well as other plans that might help fulfill promises and show loyalty to the university. The board should also consider selling the land to Western for a discounted price. Western is constantly considering its master plan and is in constant need of buying land adjacent to the current campus. It is likely that in a few years, the current SKyPAC land will be useful in expanding the campus.
If the SKyPAC board sells this land to the university, Western administrators should not rush to use the land. It ought to consider what use of this land will be the most beneficial to the students. Western should consider continue using the land for parking. The land was leased with the intent of using the future center’s parking lot. If the center isn’t built and the land is used for other things, it puts a damper on Western’s parking situation. Many of the parking spots in the Valley and that area of campus have been shifted to the SKyPAC lot. It could be a parking disaster if the land is not used for parking.
President Gary Ransdell said the land could be used to build the Greek Village. This is probably not the most ideal use for the land. Again, it is not right for the university to purchase land that comes from the state and students’ pockets to benefit a small part of the student population. Land is not cheap. If Western needs to use general funds or raise fees to pay for it, it should consider carefully what the land could be best used for.
Luckily for the SKyPAC board, the center was not far in the building process, so it can change their mind with relative ease. But if Western rushes to use the land, it won’t have that same luxury.
This editorial represents the majority opinion of the Herald’s 9-member board of student editors.