The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


Park N’ Pony Moving off campus

When David Pate, a junior economics major, noticed a crack in his student identification card last year he walked to the Park N’ Pony office. Just moments after explaining the situation to the folks in the Hughes-Trigg office, Pate received a brand spanking new identification card.

But if this happens to Pate sometime in the near future, the sequence of events will be very different. Pate will have to walk to his car and abandon his parking space, which at SMU is like leaving a sack of gold for the taking. He will then have to drive 1.21 miles, stopping at red lights and stop signs along the way, to the new location of the Park N’ Pony office located across Central Expressway. After searching for a new parking space in an unfamiliar area, Pate will head to the office where he will finally explain his problem. After receiving a new card, Pate will once again return to his car, drive back to campus, look for yet another parking space and then continue his day. Pate wondered one thing when presented with this scenario: what if he didn’t have a car? That’s a long walk.

“I don’t know anyone that has that much time on their hands,” Pate said.

Next spring, the Park N’ Pony office will be relocating to Expressway Tower. Located at 6116 N. Central Expressway, at the intersection of SMU and Yale blvd, the Expressway Tower may not seem very far, but for students who need to visit the office and don’t have a car, that’s more than a hop, skip and a jump.

“The administration should have taken the opinion of the people who they are serving and not put business first,” said Ian Winston, a senior English and film double major.

Mark Rhodes, Director of Park N’ Pony, said that the President’s Task Force on Alcohol and Substance Abuse Prevention identified a need for additional student programming space in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center.  Rhodes said the space Park N’ Pony has occupied for the past few years in Hughes Trigg would be better used for student programming.

Lisa Wiksten, Executive Director of Auxiliary Services at SMU, said that she and Rhodes met with the Associate Vice President of Student Affairs, Dee Siscoe, and the Director of the Hughes-Trigg Student Center, Richard Owens, earlier this year and were asked to find a new location for the Park N’ Pony office. With no room left on campus, Rhodes and Wiksten were forced to look elsewhere. After looking at different options, Rhodes and Wiksten selected the Expressway Tower as the best suited for Park N’ Pony.

The mission of Park N’ Pony is to provide SMU identification cards and a comprehensive array of parking services for the campus community, and visitors. Park N’ Pony, which is designed to help students, is something some call an on-campus essential. Winston said students should have been consulted, perhaps by a poll, before the service was moved off campus.

Rhodes said the department has mixed emotions about the move. Moving from a place you have been the past few years is never easy. But the Park N’ Pony office employees are looking at the move optimistically. Having an on-campus office “served its purpose but it wasn’t an ideal location. The new location better suits our business purposes,” Rhodes said. Wiksten said the new space is going to be both beautiful and competent. In Park N’ Pony’s current space, Rhodes is separated from his team. The new building allows the entire staff to work together. With a larger space and room for all Park N’ Pony employees to be in the same office, Park N’ Pony will reach new levels of efficiency.

“This has given us an extra push to look at what we need to be doing to deliver things more efficiently for our customers,” Wiksten said.

Some students say there are other on campus organizations that are better suited to be off campus than Park N’ Pony.

“We’re trying to balance our time and classes and we shouldn’t be inconvenienced to the point of going off campus to pay a ticket,” said Trigg Burrage, a freshman business and theatre double major.

Wiksten said that students and staff will be able to obtain all of Park N’ Pony’s services online. That way the need to visit the physical office will be minimal. Park N’ Pony has also begun to use a new parking management system called T2. This new system will make it easier to have parking maintenance online, officials said.

However, some services, such as picking up a new identification card can’t be completed over the Internet. Wiksten said that Park N’ Pony will be setting up satellite offices on campus during times of high demand, such as AARO and at the start of each semester for Park N’ Pony services.

“Students should have access to all of our goods and services online and those we can’t do online, we’re going to make it as convenient as possible to get them what they need,” Rhodes said.

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