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Pooh-bahs get primo parking

Kelly Cernetich, Editor-in-Chief
October 5, 2011
Filed under News

Parking is perhaps the most precious on-campus commodity.

Pitt-Johnstown’s commuters make their daily rounds before class in the hopes of finding that rare open spot behind Biddle Hall, and residents take several passes in front of freshman halls to avoid the often muddy Sports Center lot.

But some at Pitt- Johnstown arrive on-campus to an already reserved space.

Administrators , such as office vice presidents, executive directors and the Chief of Staff have signs behind Blackington Hall designating spots specifically for them.

Associate Police Chief Eric Zangaglia said certain administrators are allowed reserved spots due to their offices’ importance.

“It’s for upper level admin,” he said. “But we don’t make that decision (on who gets a reserved spot).”

A call to the Physical Plant was not immediately returned. It is unclear who decides which administrators qualify for a reserved space.

Zangaglia also said, however, there is no extra fine for students who park in one of the specially reserved slots.

The fine for students parking in a reserved area, whether in the faculty and staff lot or the university president’s space, is $15.

“The ticket doesn’t make a distinction between a faculty member’s position or, say, Dr. (Pitt-Johnstown President Jem) Spectar.”

Despite the uniform penalty, Zangaglia said that, while officers don’t go out of their way to target students in administrators’ spots, they can be easier to identify than those parked in, for example, the larger Biddle lot.

And although campus police officers don’t decide who gets a reserved spot, they know where the spaces are and enforce violations.

Zangaglia said two new spaces were added this year on Student Union Drive to accommodate a physician brought in once a week to supplement the health and wellness office staff.

Some students may have noticed, though, that Spectar seemingly has a second spot on campus.

A weather-worn paper, taped over a handicapoed parking sign, marks a space behind the old Sports Center as belonging to Spectar.

Junior commuter Lisa Polaski said she would have a problem with any administrator having more than one sign.

“It’s completely unjustified,” she said.

Given the walking distance many students complete every day, moving from one end of campus to the other for classes, lunch and to get to their cars, it seems that some, including senior Tom Barefoot, find the idea distasteful. “Can’t he walk as much as we walk?” he said.

Zangaglia said that the space is not official, and was probably not used. Once the Wellness Center was completed, the main entrance changed, and no one is to be using the Sports Center’s rear entry.

“It is not permanent,” he said. “That was probably left over from… graduation.”

Although Spectar wasn’t available for comment, secretary Susan Palov said he likely uses the space during events at the Wellness Center.