Game poses parking challenges

Josh Echt

The vehicles of Parking Services are painted vanilla white, blending into the crowd. They guard parking lots across campus, while workers flag cars into the proper lots with orange wands and flares.

The routine is the way Larry Emling wants parking at the basketball games to go: business as usual.

“Hopefully parking is transparent. It shouldn’t be an issue,” said Emling, Parking Services assistant manager.

Parking Services and the athletic department have communicated since October on parking issues. The departments met during football season to discuss plans for sponsors, team-bus parking and PARTA-based shuttles that circulate between front and back lots a half-hour before game time, said Cynthia Stone, Kent State Athletics assistant facilities and operations manager.

The departments’ latest parking and crowd-control test is tonight’s 7 p.m. game against Western Michigan.

A staggered routine

Emling said the Student Center pay lot has 418 spaces, while the commuter lots and R-12 lots next to the Michael Schwartz Center contain approximately 1,100 combined spaces.

Normally eight to 10 workers have specific responsibilities in certain areas. The backside of the Student Center, for reserved crowds, contains 50 to 60 spaces, Emling said.

“If we’re expecting a big crowd – Kent playing Akron – we will draw 12 to 13 people to work that night,” he said.

However, only one to two Parking Services aides are needed for women’s games.

Getting ready for the crowd

The department gets ready as early as 3:30 p.m. to hold designated spots.

Spots such as the M.A.C. Center circle need to be secured early so it is empty by the time the media designated for the area will arrive.

Everyone is on his or her own to get out after games, Emling said.

“As long as it’s working don’t change it. We’re always evaluating to see how we can improve signage and minor details,” Emling said.

Since the late 1990s people expect the basketball team to win, and everyone expects large crowds, Emling said.

“With basketball winning and a loyal following, you need to show up early to get a good seat,” he said.

Contact general assignment reporter Josh Echt at [email protected].