UTAPS uses summer to save money by closing structures

Sean Keister

For the third year in a row, University Transportation and Parking Services will save approximately $50,000 on energy costs during the off-peak period this summer by closing several parking facilities at Sacramento State.

From May 27 to Aug. 22, Parking Structures II, III and IV will be closed, in addition to lots 10 and 11.

Gina Lombardo, UTAPS transportation and parking administrative director, said there will be no additional cost to the university for shutting down the structures, which will save the school on energy costs, mostly by turning off the lights and shutting down elevators.

“This was identified several years ago as an opportunity for the campus to use less energy during the times when fewer people were on campus,” Lombardo said.

She said the parking structures and lots mentioned will be shut down for the three-month duration, but there are no plans for repairs such as repaving in those facilities this year.

Lombardo said the savings help offset UTAPS’ other expenses for campus parking operations.

Senior journalism major Ellie Mirmazaheri, who is taking classes this summer, said the $50,000 the school is saving is great, but wonders if the money could be better spent.

“Well that’s a lot of money but at the same time it should be going towards our education,” Mirmazaheri said. “It would be nice if that money was going towards helping bring down tuition costs, but not if it’s going towards to UTAPS alone.”

She said she thinks shutting down the facilities will probably not make much of a difference in terms of finding a spot to park.

“It just depends on how many people are going to be enrolled,” Mirmazaheri said.

While students are paying $104 for a summer parking permit, Lombardo said they will not being paying that amount for limited parking.

“There is enough space available that it should not be an issue,” Lombardo said. “Summer is considered an off-peak period for parking usage.”

Mirmazaheri said that even with the available parking, there is no reason for the parking passes to be that expensive.

“If you are going to school for just one of the six-weeks sessions then why should you have to pay for the full $104 for a pass,” Mirmazaheri said. “If you go to school twice a week for six weeks and you buy a daily pass you pay $72 compared to the $104 for the pass.”

Most other parking facilities will be open and available while these are being closed, but there will be additional work on the open lots as well.

This summer, several parking lots will have re-striping and resurfacing projects. This includes work on lots A and B, student and faculty and staff lots 1 and 2, and student lots 8, 10 and 11.

“I don’t think money should be spent now on that,” Mirmazaheri said. “I think there are more important things that money should be spent on when it comes to Sac State, but we obviously don’t get a say in that. It just seems like a waste basically.”

With work being done on these lots, it means that many will be closed at certain periods of time.

The work for student lots 8 and 10, and faculty and staff lot 2, will only affect a portion of the lot and will not require the lots to be closed.

“It doesn’t seem like that they need to do it,” Mirmazaheri said. “I don’t see a problem with it. I don’t know any other people who have complained about the parking lot.

Josh Thompson, senior international business major, said he does not see the reasoning behind repaving the lots at this time.

“I don’t think that’s the best way to spend funds,” Thompson said. “You can just park on dirt if you have to.”

As for lot 1, construction on that lot will be worked on in stages and only a portion of that lot will be closed at any one time.

Lots A, B and 11 are the only lots being closed off entirely for a short period of time, while work is being done.

Lombardo said despite the construction, most parking lots, in addition to Parking Structure I, will be available to students with a valid permit.

She said saving energy is something UTAPS considers essential.

“Saving energy is important to the university year-round and is part of our commitment to sustainability,” Lombardo said. “In addition to summer, we also close Parking Structures II, III and IV, and lots 10 and 11 during winter and spring break.”

Mirmazaheri thinks UTAPS should be more open for discussion when it comes to these decisions.

“I think in general, the campus needs to communicate with everyone, not just amongst themselves when it comes to big decisions like these,” Mirmazaheri said. “Students are still protesting the tuition hikes and they are still spending a lot of money doing things that aren’t important. I feel like we as students should have some say in it.”