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Campus hit by avoidable growing pains

As USF continues to grow, it is undergoing tremendous change. Students both new and old recognize these gradual changes every day, but the University’s administration will also have to take the growth into account when planning for the future. As it stands, it is apparent that past planning has not created the most desirable campus to study, work or even live on.

USF’s enrollment is up 2.7 percent from last fall, with 42,714 students (36,749 of which are taking classes at the Tampa campus) at USF’s four locations. It is likely that this growth trend will continue and enrollment numbers will continue to rise. USF must plan for its ever-increasing student population to avoid worsening already-cramped conditions.

There are structures in the planning and construction stages. But this construction generally only includes very specific buildings such as the ROTC facility and additions to the Research Park, among others. While the construction of these buildings may very well be justified, it is unclear what USF plans to do about the general shortage of classrooms and outdated structures.

The Arts building is literally falling apart and a new facility is long overdue, yet the department keeps hearing little more than empty promises from the administration. The School of Architecture is pretty much in the same boat.

But the problems go well beyond the crammed classrooms. On Monday, the first day of classes, at least three traffic accidents were reported. It is becoming quite clear that the parking and traffic problems students and faculty have lamented for years are back with a vengeance.

What remains so inexplicable is how a campus that houses experts in urban planning, transportation, environmental science, architecture and many other sectors is so badly planned. USF’s experts could could contribute to building a campus that not only takes care of pressing needs, but also offers a plan for the future, yet USF does not seem to utilize such expertise.

Why not tap this knowledge and make USF’s Tampa campus not only more enjoyable and safe but also a showcase of urban planning?