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We need a parking garage

It takes me thirteen minutes to walk from the library to the South Lot. I timed it on Tuesday. I have a commuter decal, but there’s nowhere to park on campus, and we all know that, so I park at the South Lot and ride the bus into campus. When I don’t have late tests or work or chapter or any other meeting that inevitably gets out after the sun has gone down, I’m very okay with taking the Gold Line. But when I do, I get to make the thirteen minute walk in the dark to my car, which, given the way that many Ole Miss students, myself included, drive, is probably about as dangerous as a Smart Car playing chicken with a Humvee.
The Gold Line busses stop running around 6:45, and I find it hard to believe that they have too many people riding for the last hour or so. I’m not calling for them to extend the hours of operation for the OUT busses. Those busses are probably bleeding money for half of the time they’re running every day anyway. I’m calling for a real solution.
We’ve got to build a parking garage.
Administrators, I know you’re trying to hold on to this image of Ole Miss as a small, charming Southern school. I’m not asking to turn us into Mississippi State. That would be gross and horrible and I would withdraw. I’m asking for you to consider an image of Ole Miss as a slightly-larger-than-our-campus-can-accommodate, charming Southern school with a parking garage.
It is entirely possible to build pretty parking garages. You can make them blend in to the architecture of their environments. The parking garage for the city hall in my hometown isn’t obnoxious or ugly; it looks like all of the other buildings in the area. Here at Ole Miss, we can slap some Greco-Roman columns on that baby and we’re good to go. We can build a façade on it so that it looks like a regular building. I don’t even think anyone would be opposed to it going underground if the soil in this area is accommodating. It doesn’t matter how it happens, it just needs to happen.
This isn’t even an issue that will mitigate with time. In a few years, the upper parking lot for Martin-Stockard will be replaced by the houses for the new sororities. So not only will that parking be lost, but the demand in that area would be increased by at least half again when the girls living in those new houses get there.
Enrollment is on the rise. Wednesday’s copy of the DM showed that we were the only school with growth in enrollment in the state. (Take that, State.) I see no reason for that to change in the near future.  There is no way that demand for parking will decrease unless freshmen are barred from bringing their cars to campus, which is really infeasible in a town like Oxford.
I’m still open to other solutions, but this seems to be the way to go. We can’t hold all of the cars that come for football games, and that’s just right now when we’re in recovery. What happens when we start really winning games in a couple of years and we get more people traveling in again on game days? (Of course, now that I think about it, maybe this isn’t something we really need to worry about. #WAOM.)
The sheer amount of complaints that have been aired about the parking situation in the last three years should have spurred the administration to look into real parking solutions. The South Lot is a good stopgap, but if we want real solutions to our parking woes, a parking garage is the way to go.

Alexandra Williamson is a senior accountancy major from Frisco, Texas. Follow her on Twitter @alyxwi.