‘Those are for Y members only’: Students who park at new YMCA will be ticketed

Wichita State students, faculty and staff who park in the lot outside of the Steve Clark YMCA and Student Wellness Center from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays will be ticketed, WSU Chief of Staff Andy Schlapp said Thursday at a board of trustees meeting.

Schlapp said the newly opened facility, which started operating on full-time hours this week, will attract community members to the university who might never have stepped foot on campus otherwise.

“Those [parking spots] are for Y members only . . .” Schlapp told the board.

“All students are automatically members, correct?” one trustee asked.

“Correct, but they’re not able to park there,” Schlapp responded.

University spokesperson Joe Kleinsasser said students, faculty, and staff have access to existing university parking within a three-minute walk of the Y, near Eck Stadium, The Flats, and Ablah Library.

“They will be able to park in the Y lot before 7 a.m. and after 5 p.m. weekdays and anytime on weekends,” Kleinsasser wrote in an email to The Sunflower.

For a sixth semester, WSU students are paying a tiered Health and Wellness fee to fund the operating costs of the YMCA. A student receiving in-state tuition and taking 15 credit hours a semester now pays $190 a year for the Health and Wellness Fee. All fee-paying students are automatically Y members.

Kleinsasser said there are roughly 160 parking spaces built and maintained by the Y for visitors, but there are also “several designated spots for the Student Wellness Center for health services and counseling.” Patients at the soon-to-open urgent care center housed in the same facility can also park in the Y lot without being ticketed, he said.

There is currently no signage in the YMCA parking lot clarifying who can and cannot park there, but Kleinsasser said that will be posted by the beginning of the spring semester.

“The on-campus YMCA, like the other nine in the metro area, is open to the whole community, and we want community members to visit campus,” Kleinsasser wrote.

Schlapp echoed that sentiment at the board of trustees meeting, asserting that “people are afraid to come to college campuses.”

“When I did the interview with The Eagle on Dr. (John) Bardo’s passing about how we’re trying to get people on campus, I never once mentioned students, because I wanted them to understand it’s a community space,” Schlapp told the trustees.

“Then the story came out and it was all about students.”