Parking Services will implement a new fee in specific garages for community special events to raise revenue from attendees and the university department sponsors.
The special parking fee will be $5 per car in both the LBJ Student Center Parking Garage and Edward Gary Street Parking Garage next to the Performing Arts Center during events. The department holding an event will have the option to either pay for the fees or have its guests pay in cash, said Nancy Nusbaum, interim director of Transportation Services.
Parking Services officials are currently working to update the department’s University Policy and Procedure Statements, which will include procedures for the fee, Nusbaum said.
“We’ve got first aid classes, job fairs and different things like that where people are bringing hundreds of people to campus, and right now they’re parking for free,” Nusbaum said. “In the future either the department will pay $5 per person or the people who are attending will pay the $5.”
Nusbaum said Parking Services is currently meeting with university officials to discuss events that may be exempted from paying the fee. These exemptions will be outlined in the approved UPPS, she said.
“I’m hoping (the UPPS) will be finished and reviewed in March, and some of the things in it will go into effect in the fall semester and some of it goes into effect immediately,” Nusbaum said.
Parking Services’ UPPS is reviewed every three years and was last reviewed in January 2011, Nusbaum said.
The President’s Cabinet has approved Parking Services not charging the fee for Bobcat Day, the Pack It Up and Pass It On event and early polling booths at the LBJ Student Center, Nusbaum said.
“We don’t currently charge for commencement, and I don’t think we are going to charge,” Nusbaum said. “We haven’t addressed that one yet, but I would say it will stay the same way.”
Parking Services and university officials are discussing what types of non-university organizations will be charged with the event fee, Nusbaum said.
“The first priority for parking is always students, faculty and staff, so every effort will be made to accommodate a special parking event that involves students, faculty and staff,” said Cynthia Opheim, associate provost of Academic Affairs.
The second priority is department-sponsored events like lectures or university recognized organizations, Opheim said.
The fee was implemented for the department of Criminal Justice’s hostage negotiation event in January, Nusbaum said.
“The department decided to pay for the permits, so we provided them the number of permits they wanted, charged them $5 and then they handed them out to the people to put in their cars,” Nusbaum said.
The President’s Cabinet approved the fee last year to begin charging fine arts events at the Edward Gary garage in January 2014, Nusbaum said.
Anyone who parks at the Edward Gary garage will have to pay the $5 fee, said Stephen Prentice, assistant director of Parking Services.
“During those days whether you’re coming to the performing arts event or not it will still be $5 because there is no way to say ‘you get to pay and you don’t,’ so just during that time its $5,” Prentice said.
Nusbaum said any student with a green residential parking permit for the Edward Gary garage will be able to park without paying the fee.
“We’re also looking at having people go online and pay by credit card in the future and print their own permit before they get to campus,” Nusbaum said.
The university’s current software does not have the capabilities for online payments, but will hopefully be upgraded by the summer, Nusbaum said.
The revenue collected for the new fee will go to Parking Services, Prentice said.