The University of Wisconsin Green Bay is finally in the process of constructing a new residence hall for the 2024 school year. As exciting as this may sound, the University has decided to close the main housing lot on campus for the rest of the spring semester, causing a lot of problems for UW-Green Bay students.
On March 6th, 2023, it was announced that the Main Housing Parking lot on the UW-Green Bay’s campus was closing on March 12th for the foreseeable future. The campus announced that the lot was needed for construction crews to stage the equipment needed to build the new residence hall that would open in the fall of 2024.
While Housing and Residential Education is running the construction project, the UW-Green Bay Police Department is in charge of the parking lots on campus. The police department ensures parking lots are available for all students and visitors. On the UW-Green Bay Police Department’s website, the department states that “…the University has made both residential and academic buildings readily accessible to visitors, students, and staff by providing over 4,492 parking stalls within our major parking lots.” With the largest parking lot used by on-campus students closed off, policy changes have been made to allow students to now park their cars in the Kress Events Center, East Housing, and Studio Arts Parking Lot.
The closure of the Main Housing parking lot has brought in changes. With these changes come reactions from the students. Adam Wilkes, a UW-Green Bay student living on campus, gave his reaction to the recent announcement of the closure. “I think the Main lot closure, as someone who lives in the building closest to the parking lot, is an inconvenience, and while I appreciate the improvements to the campus, during winter having to walk further is, of course, annoying to us students,” Adam Wilkes stated. While he is excited to see new improvements for the long-term future of the University, his reaction was pretty mixed about the timing of the closure. “My initial reaction was confusion as to why it was being done during the semester before understanding the true scope of the project and why it needed to be started the mid-semester,” Wilkes explained.
The closure impacts not only the students who live on campus but also the commuter students and visitors of UW-Green Bay. According to Commuter Services at UW-Green Bay, 64% of UW-Green Bay students live off-campus and commute. Sarah Hart is a UW-Green Bay student who commutes to campus and typically parks in the Kress Center Parking Lot. Hart is concerned about the accessibility and convenience of parking now that she might have to park in a different lot away from her classes, stating, “I definitely won’t be happy needing to park in the other lots. It’s a lot farther from all of my classes, and it would also make it more difficult for me to go work out in between classes.” The parking policy was changed to allow students to park in the Kress Center Parking Lot overnight. This policy change will likely cause on-campus students to park there and force commuter students, like Hart, to less convenient parking lots.
“There will be a learning curve, but there is ample parking,” said UW-Green Bay Chief of Police Tony Decker. Decker noted that East Housing, Studio Arts, and along Walter Way parking lots would be ideally used by on-campus residents as commuters rely on the Kress Center Parking Lot. The UW-Green Bay Police was aware of plans by Housing and Residential to build, but Chief Decker described the timing and date of the project starting as “abrupt” and that the police didn’t have anything to do with the planning of closure. Decker wants to ensure students and visitors that there will be enough capacity for parking on UW-Green Bay’s campus.
UWGB has remained quiet on the issue on campus. With the main housing lot completely fenced off, students will be forced to change some habits for the remainder of the school year. Executive Director for Housing and Residential Education Kelly Thacker said that a press release is expected at the end of March and will contain information about the building and parking lot.