Jefferson Davis Campus Builds Temporary Parking Fix

Many students at the Jefferson Davis campus of Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College are arriving at class a little early this semester.

But it's not some plan to please the professor. Early birds have the best chance of finding a parking space.

The parking shortage is a symptom of growing pains at the community college.

Cruising for parking spaces is becoming a familiar ritual for students at JD this semester. Increasing enrollment means more students, and their cars, on campus.

"We have over eleven thousand students enrolled college wide and at the JD campus alone we have 4,789. This is like an increase of ten percent over last fall. And we just don't have anywhere to put all the people for parking," said Gina Sessum, dean of business services.

Workers are shaping a temporary solution. Tons of red dirt will be smoothed over to create a parking lot on the north side of the campus. It's welcome news to students.

Quincy DeJarnett is president of the student council.

"I get here early every morning, about seven or seven thirty to find a parking space. Monday, Wednesday and Friday is the biggest days of parking. So many students trying to find a space. If you're running late, you can just count on riding around for a few minutes, trying to find a space," he said.

It seems appropriate that the current overflow parking is located next to the old fitness trail. That's because students who must park out there, definitely have a healthy hike to their first class.

Trouble is, the overflow lot is now filling up most mornings. That's why this new temporary space, which should open next week, is such a welcome sight.

"Students are already parking along DeBuys Road there and in the grass and anywhere they can find parking. So, I think this will help relieve some of the problem, but not completely," said Sessum.

Long range plans call for building a new loop road around the campus, complete with extra parking.