By DaKota Hilburn
It’s that time of year again, the NJCAA Men’s Basketball tournament.
We all know what that means; less parking spaces for students and teachers.
Students, faculty and staff who usually park in the Sports Arena lot on weekdays now find it blocked off for tournament parking, causing that overflow of cars to look for spots elsewhere on campus.
Even the satellite parking lots north of the student union and those west of Plum Street are packed.
“The tournament takes over the whole area for parking,” said Steve Dunmire, director of security at Hutchinson Community College.
The Stringer Fine Arts Center’s south lot is still available for student parking. But there are some restrictions.
“Students with regular student permits are allowed to park at Stringer all day and students with dorm permits can park after 1 p.m.,” Dunmire said.
Block And Bridle and Student Ambassadors are two groups working at the Sports Arena parking lot, helping to direct cars to parking spaces.
Block And Bridle is in charge of the west side, while Student Ambassadors takes care of the east side.
Steve Sears, the Block and Bridle sponsor, said it was a cash operation, with no free passes.
“It costs $3 to park and every time you leave the parking lot, even to go get lunch, when you come back you pay an additional $3,” Sears said.
Block And Bridle volunteered to help with parking as a fundraiser for their annual banquet at the end of the year.
“There are 12 volunteers from each group and they take three-hour shifts,” Sears said.
Diana Rodriguez, a member of Student Ambassadors, from Scott City, said she has had to adapt to the fast-changing, early spring weather of Kansas.
“I have been out here for three days,” Rodriguez said.
“It was sunny the first day, windy the second and today it is just plain cold. I have adapted well though,”
If a fan wishes to watch all of the games but doesn’t want to pay $3 every time to park, there is an option of getting a week-long parking pass, for $45.
If you have the week pass, there is a special part of the lot that is sectioned off for these fans.