When students talk about driving and parking at Orange Coast College this semester, the common denominator is the amount of expletives used.
Numerous construction projects across campus means that hundreds of student and faculty parking spots have been slashed this month, leading to gridlock in parking lots and worried students concerned about how long it will take them to get to class.
“If I get to OCC before 8 a.m. I can definitely find parking, but anything after 8:30 a.m. and it’s nearly impossible. You’d have to park at probably the fairgrounds,” Toan Tran, a 26-year-old communication studies major said. “What if you don’t have time to walk in between, and you have to walk back to the fairgrounds every time?”
According to Chief of Campus Safety Jim Rudy, as of Jan. 29, OCC has 4,977 total parking spots on campus for an estimated 22,000 students and 700 faculty members. Of the total spots, excluding meters, 3,691 are student parking stalls.
The college has lost 896 stalls to construction projects over the last three years.
Some students are accepting of the situation.
“It’s construction, so it’s understandable,” Ivan Sanchez, a 20-year-old kinesiology major said.
Access and accommodation are a central focus for the administration during ongoing construction projects such as the new student housing complex, the aquatic center, the college center and student life buildings, which are projected for completion at the end of 2020.
Construction also includes renovations to parking and the addition of several new parking sections.
“There are other areas on the campus like the E lot (Merrimac Way Parking Lot) and the fairgrounds that are open and in some cases closer to your classes than the Adams lot,” Richard Pagel, vice president of administration services said, encouraging students to look for parking at all lots on campus.
In addition, Campus Safety has announced new changes to the parking permitting system.
Four-hour permits have been eliminated and replaced with full-day passes for $3.
“It didn’t make sense to me,” Rudy said, describing the student experience with daily passes to rush out for an additional four-hour permit or to refill their parking meter. “Let’s just make it simpler.”
For the first three weeks of classes, parking in all lots including the fairgrounds is free. Parking permits go into effect Feb. 11.
To purchase a $30 parking permit for the semester, head to the MyOCC website under the Quick Links tab or in person at the Bursar’s Office.