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You will immediately notice that parking is a big problem all over Athens, and parking is practically nonexistent on campus. It doesn’t have to be this way. The solution is right at hand, if we will just open our eyes to our resources and not be bound by outmoded ideas. We have a gigantic but underutilized resource right in the middle of the campus, if we could just use it effectively.
What UGA needs is parking, especially parking close to downtown. UGA also, like any big business, needs to increase income and cut expenses. And big business doesn’t thrive by living in the past. Our big business, UGA, is run by a bunch of guys who are successful businessmen that gave a lot of money to help the governor get elected. As a reward, the governor appointed them to the board of regents, which oversees the university system. They are not expected to know anything about education, but they are supposed to know about business.
The regents should be able to see immediately that what we call North Campus is ideally situated to provide a grand parking lot adjacent both to downtown and the rest of the campus, primo for football and tailgating, of course, and the rest of the time a highly desirable area, especially at night, when the university students come back downtown to continue their education in the “undergraduate” bars.
What is presently occupying North Campus? Old buildings and old trees. Fortunately, the old buildings house nonessential services—basically administrative offices—except for the law school and the library. Those old buildings cost a fortune to maintain. They’re endlessly undergoing expensive renovations. The trees, too, require constant attention, and even then they fall down, if they’re not cut down first. And the grass needs mowing, and the flowers need tending. North Campus is a money suck. You can bet the regents would jump at the chance to pave the whole thing over and begin making money off it. But where would they put all those administrators?
The library is easy. Just consolidate it with the science library and in the process get rid of all those books nobody reads. The Chapel sits empty most of the time. Everything else can be moved into that prime block of real estate right in the middle of the the campus, accessible to all: the Sanford Stadium skyboxes.
Think about it: The skyboxes are luxurious, state-of-the-art facilities that are used only on seven Saturdays out of the year. The rest of the time, they sit vacant. Sure, it may take a little downsizing to fit all the administrators into the skyboxes, but everybody knows UGA suffers from an administrative glut. Even the regents should be able to grasp this fact. The law school would probably require an addition to the stadium, but there’s always plenty of money available for add-ons there.
As soon as the old buildings and the old trees are knocked down, we immediately experience a gigantic savings in upkeep, and once the whole area is paved, it needs very little, except for occasionally restriping the parking spaces and fixing the odd pothole. Meanwhile, North Campus is turned into a money machine, where parking is in demand all day and most of the night.
The only slight drawback to the whole thing is that the administrators will need to tidy their desks before they leave their offices on football weekends, and they may just have to accept some shrimp dip spotted here and there on Monday mornings after big games.
But look at the gains. The dignitaries and influential alumni who are accustomed to sitting in the president’s box will now be seated in his very office. And since he works all the time anyway, they can kick back with a Jack and Coke and watch President Morehead run the university while they watch Coach Smartt run the Dawgs. What better way to assure that our alma mater is remembered in alumni hearts and wills? It’s the best of all possible worlds!
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