By: Jim Hayes
A 14 percent growth in enrollment across the three Volunteer State Community College campuses and online students appears to have had little, if any, effect on parking at the main Vol State campus in Gallatin one week into the 2018 fall semester.
The enrollment number 9,372 as of Thursday afternoon may change slightly in the next couple of weeks as students drop classes and leave school.
“Enrollment is up compared to last year,” said Tim Amyx, Director of Admissions & College Registrar.
“We won’t know what the official enrollment is until 14 days into classes,” said
Eric Melcher, Coordinator of Public Relations and Marketing.
A part of the increased enrollment to Tennessee Reconnect students are because of those taking online classes.
“We had 1,119 Tennessee Reconnect students apply for admission to the college,” said Melcher.
There are no records of how many of those applications were accepted.
Melcher also addressed the parking situation.
“At the beginning of the fall we can have people parking in overflow,” said Melcher.
He also suggested that students use the Green Lee Boulevard entrance for easier access to the school.
An email from Lisa Morris, the Senior Administrative Assistant to Chief of Police Angela Lawson, said the Campus Police dealt with the parking issue by having “officers directing students into parking lots,” the first days of classes.
Morris’ email also said that the larger enrollment did not have as much of an effect on parking as was anticipated.
As of Wednesday, the situation “has taken care of itself,” Morris’ email said.
While the enrollment has grown, it appears to have had little effect on parking on the Gallatin campus.
“I haven’t had any problem parking here. If you come in at 9 o’clock, there is a little problem finding a place to park, but the rest of the time, it is easy” said Vol State student Saul Lara.
One faculty member, Adjunct Member Carlton Wilkinson, who teaches in the Humanities Department, has an issue with the parking situation.
”It takes me about 8 minutes to park. I try to go off campus for lunch and it cuts into my time. The later you come in the day, the more difficult it is to park,” said Wilkinson.
However, Wilkinson also thought the situation would improve.
“I think at the beginning of the semester, it always seems to be more crunched,” said Wilkinson.
The Vol State students interviewed for this article don’t seem to feel there are any parking problems. Vol State student Jevon Nash summed up the student body’s general take on the situation, commenting “It’s been pretty easy for me to find a parking spot.”