By Ryan Finn
Baylor Department of Student Activities and Baylor Athletics have plans set to handle parking for the oldest homecoming in the country.
Matt Burchett, director of Student Activities, said his department got an early start on attempting to help ease up parking for the game at 3 p.m. tomorrow.
“Our strategy right now is to park everyone at the Ferrell Center,” Burchett said. “We’ll have a shuttle that runs every five to 10 minutes that will be picking up and dropping off people behind the business school, which gives individuals the quickest access to the bonfire, pigskin and other activities.”
Burchett said students are among the priorities for parking spots available the day of and before the game.
“One of the things most important to us is protecting spaces for students,” he said. “Our hope is that we’ll be able to accommodate students first, and then open up parking to our outside constituents. We will put personnel in the Eighth Street and East Village garages so that only students have access to them until Friday night.”
Burchett said parking will be allowed in the Ferrell center for alumni and families of students unable to find a place to park on campus for the homecoming events tonight. Vehicles will need to be cleared out by 2 a.m. There will be shuttles transporting fans from the Ferrell and Speight parking areas and delivering fans to the front of the “I Believe Walkway” on University Parks Drive. The City of Waco will also be running shuttles from Fifth Street and Austin Ave. downtown to a drop-off location on Martin Luther King Drive near the stadium. These will begin running at 10:30 a.m. and will run as long as needed until after the game.
Nick Joos, executive associate athletics director for external affairs, said problems that may arise regarding parking during the game can be easily resolved.
“There have been numerous people involved who have attacked homecoming parking as a separate issue,” Joos said. “We have a special parking plan for homecoming weekend that we plan to roll out.”
Burchett said outside help was hired to assist with parking details.
“Four months ago, we engaged our consulting firm that’s been dealing with the stadium parking,” Burchett said. “We asked them what would be the best approach for this event, as we’re expecting 8,000 to 10,000 people coming back to campus.”
Burchett said the plan is to try and manage what is normal for game day, such as the closures of the Law School, the Dutton Garage, and the Speight Garage today in preparation for game day, while balancing an influx of patrons to campus. Fifth Street through campus will be closed at 2 a.m. early tomorrow morning, south and northbound exits on I-35 for Fourth and Fifth streets will be closed at 6 a.m., as will southbound exit on I-35 for Martin Luther King Blvd., and University Parks will be closed at 11 a.m.
Burchett said he hopes people will use their identified game day parking to go on campus for the parade, and feels confident that people will be able to go to the parade, tailgate or eat on campus, and then go to the game.
“This will be our first Homecoming game on campus,” he said. “I think this has the potential to be really fun and exciting for everyone, with everything that game day will have to offer. It gets me really excited about the whole experience.”
If there is a possibility that your vehicle might have been towed, you can call Tow King at 254-666-5484. If it has been relocated, your vehicle will likely be held at a site just north of campus at 1601 Taylor Ave. Owners will be able to claim their vehicles with a valid picture ID.