Screeching, banging, and clattering. These are just some of the sounds along Bobcat Trail as construction crews work on a new pedestrian walkway between Commons Hall and Flowers Hall. One result of the project is that there's one-less bus loop on campus. For many years, buses had used that street to pick up and deliver students. That means routes have been changed, and some students have found it more difficult to get to school.
As the university continues to grow, construction seems to be never-ending
Others are excited that the university is prospering.
The Bobcat Trail project will cost the university nearly five-point-five million dollars. It should be finished by December 20-15. For Bobcat Update, I'm Caitlin Greenlee.
Students purchase their passes from the university's Parking Services division. Parking Services is not lenient when it comes to parking outside of the designated zones. Some students feel pretty desperate when they try to find parking. They may circle the parking lots for 20 to 40 minutes to find an open space, and at times they'll resort to parking illegally. One student had to deal with this when the car next to hers parked too close.
Commuters have three parking lots to choose from that are close to campus, and these lots are also open to red restricted permits, which means faculty can park there as well. This can cause confusion, especially when commuters have to vacate the lot at certain times. When students park where they're not supposed to be, they'll be fined if caught.
Texas State is not planning to create a new commuter lot, so the struggle will continue for the foreseeable future. And remember: Permits are a necessity if you're going to park on campus. For Bobcat Update, I'm Erin Cantu.
The university has about 20 construction and renovation projects planned for the 2014-2015 academic year. Several of these projects are being worked on concurrently, which causes street closures and forced detours as well as class schedule changes. Many students are affected:
Some students have to take completely different routes to their classes, which means they have to spend more time in the heat.
[Sound bite]Of course, the temporary inconvenience that these construction projects may cause is offset by the long-term goal of accommodating an ever increasing student population.
For Bobcat Update, I'm Vicky Serrano.
It doesn't take much time out in the heat to be overwhelmed, and since very few students have all of their classes in one building, at least some hiking is required. The heat is hard to escape.
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However, some students say they're on the best campus possible to deal with the heat in Texas. Sewell Park and the San Marcos River provide a needed respite nearby.
(SOUND BITE HERE)Health officials say one way to handle the heat is to stay hydrated. Carry along a water bottle, and find shade where you can. For Bobcat Update, I'm Meg Sween.
Anyone who lives off campus needs a way to get here to attend class. That means either riding the bus or driving. But those who ride buses soon realize just how crowded it is. At peak times, they load up fast. And if you drive instead, there's the hassle of finding a parking space. It seems an impossible task -- especially as class time nears.
Students who've encountered overcrowding or the lack of parking spaces are hoping the university comes up with solutions.
Some students say the bus system provides the best option for getting to campus.
The university has a new bus service this semester. The contractor, Transdev, is operating a 45-bus fleet -- 43 of them are new. To pay for the new service, students approved an increase in the bus fee, which now costs 95-dollars a semester. For Bobcat Update, I'm Jaclyn Coles.
There are two projects underway on Bobcat Trail. The goal of the projects is to upgrade the utility pipes and to create a green space in the area. Texas State Student [First Last] says she had to change her route to class because of the construction, and she's worried that the new route may take too much time.
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While [Last] is finding it difficult to get to class, Texas State Senior [First Last] says she's having trouble focusing in the classroom because there's too much construction noise.
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Despite the complaints, many students are excited about what the changes will mean for the campus. Texas State Student [First Last] says he's being positive. He's looking forward to being able to enjoy a green space rather than asphalt.
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Bobcat Trail is not the only construction project affecting students. The San Marcos City Council has two projects underway on north L-B-J. The city is upgrading drainage and walkways to accommodate the future residents of the Eight 17 Lofts being built nearby.
For Bobcat Update, I'm Kathryn Price.
Construction on and near campus is making it more difficult for students to get to class on time. Some of them have no choice but to find new routes. In the long term, the changes will be beneficial, of course, but for now they create problems.
For example, anyone who lives on North L-B-J will have no choice but to cope with the improvements that engineers have planned for that area. Right now, it's just one big construction zone.
Construction is not limited to streets in San Marcos. Many new apartment complexes are being built to accommodate the university's higher enrollment. One of the projects -- at Top Apartments -- is behind schedule.
-Cole SB-Texas State University is the fourth largest university in the state and still growing, and, as a result, the city of San Marcos has experienced an unprecedented spurt in population. For two years in a row, the city has held the distinction of being the fastest growing small city in America. For Bobcat Update, I'm Claudia Torres.
(SB) "All these students you know they have to get parking somehow."
Texas State University is truly the Rising Star of Texas as enrollment continues to rise. Last year, the university set an enrollment record for the 16th consecutive year. And the trend is expected to continue.
To enable the growth, Texas State has built new dorms and other buildings on campus and it has added new buses for those who live off campus. But the lack of parking spaces on campus remains an issue.
(SB)"It's getting pretty ridiculous, you have to show up early just to get a good spot and even then I wait 30 minutes to drive here and then I take a 20 minute bus ride."
Senior Garrett Coats is frustrated that his commuter pass limits him to only certain areas on campus. With the closure of a major commuter lot this school year, students are now forced to park in the Mill Street lot and take a bus.
(SB)"I'm driving just to take the bus."
The lines at parking services are often quite long. A lot of people want permits, but they'll likely struggle to find places to park.
(SB)"I definitely think that they have more passes than spaces. I was actually driving around for about 15 minutes right now and I finally found a spot." (Veronika Kondratieva on CG)
And that is the main issue. With no cap on the number of parking permits sold, commuters will have to continue to fight for the last spot until new parking facilities are added.
For Bobcat Update, I'm Presley Fowler.