August 23, 2016 11:15AM
Pittsburg State University game-day administrators are preparing for something that hasn’t happened in 12 years -- a weeknight football home opener.
“The home opener is always an exciting game,” said Steve Erwin, vice president for student life. “But having it on a day when classes are in session is challenging from a parking standpoint. It places us in the delicate position of balancing our normal academic operations with the responsibilities of hosting nearly 10,000 fans on our campus”
As is normal on game days, both the Champions Plaza parking lot (also known as Brown parking) and Gorilla Grove parking (also known as Weede parking) lot will be cleared at 10 p.m. on Wednesday. These lots will reopen at 1 p.m. on game day in order to provide a clear lane of traffic through campus. Students and faculty who normally use these lots will be asked to park in either the Bicknell Center parking lot or the varsity softball parking lot in the Bicknell Sports Complex during that morning.
In order to help provide students with easy access to campus, officials are adding two game-day express shuttles to the normal shuttle bus operation. These buses will transport passengers directly from the Bicknell Center and varsity softball lots to a designated stop in front of Axe Library from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on game day.
“We realize the parking situation will inconvenience some of our students and faculty,” said Erwin. “It’s why we’ve invested in additional shuttles to reduce wait times and provide our students with convenient transportation.”
The transition to game day will fully take place at 4 p.m. when the Grubbs parking lot will be limited to Gold game-day parking pass holders. Parking spaces on the east side of Joplin Street, adjacent to Carnie Smith Stadium, will be reserved for handicapped parking pass holders throughout the day.
This year’s game will be the first time in more than a decade that Pittsburg State will kick off a season on a weeknight at home. In fact, Pittsburg State is the last team in the MIAA to schedule a Thursday game at home. The fact that the Gorillas will also play their second game on a Thursday at the University of Central Oklahoma had a great deal to do with this year’s decision.
“It’s not something we necessarily think is ideal,” said Jim Johnson, Pittsburg State’s director of intercollegiate athletics. “But, at the end of the day, it’s just not fair to ask our student-athletes and football coaches to play at a competitive disadvantage in week two against an opponent that’s had a full week’s time to prepare for us after opening on a Thursday.”
Full details on parking plans, pricing and shuttle routes are available at http://www.pittstate.edu/Gameday/.