Students outgrow campus space

David Kaplan

Multimedia Editor  


The student population growth at CSU Bakersfield over the past five years, although good for the campus, is causing space issues in the parking lots, at Runner Cafe and in classrooms.

Cheryl Holsonbake with Institutional Research, Planning and Assessment anticipates the CSUB main-campus student population will continue to grow, exceeding 9,000 students next year.


CSUB Police Chief Marty Williamson says parking during the first week of school was the fullest it’s ever been.

“This is the very first year we’ve put ‘Lot Full’ signs in Parking Lot K1,” Williamson said. Williamson, who is part of the Transportation Committee at CSUB, said that new parking arrangements are being planned.

“We have to decide what to build and how much to build,” Williamson said. “We don’t want to impact the fees if we don’t have to.”

Although it is getting harder to find a parking space, he said there are still spots available.

“In our peak, we had 200 spots in Parking Lot I,” Williamson said.

Computer science major Jose Valenzuela said he thinks students should save time when looking for a parking spot.

“It’s dangerous for people just to be driving around,” said Valenzuela. “It’s chaos trying to find parking spots. They go try to find parking spots near the library, which there’s nothing. They’re just wasting time and wasting gas.”

Valenzuela said he has to arrive on campus an hour before his class to feel comfortable about being punctual.

Facilities Management Assistant Vice President Patrick Jacobs said future lots are being talked about on the Transportation Committee.

According to Jacobs, there are two locations where potential new parking lots could be built: the grassy area directly east of Parking Lot K, or an extension of Parking Lot A, the dirt space northwest of the Doré Theatre.

“It’s about a 15-month time frame from the time we begin design to the time we open up a parking lot, and those parking lots in either location could easily accommodate between 300 and 400 additional spaces,” Jacobs said.

Jacobs added that CSUB is looking into rideshare programs using rental cars as a cheaper alternative.

“The goal would be to combine five to seven [people] into a single [vehicle]… and then those students and staff would share the cost of renting the car, which studies have proven is significantly cheaper than each individual driving their own vehicle to campus,” Jacobs said. “We hope that program will start probably in the winter quarter of 2016.”

Additionally, students receive a discount on monthly bus passes through Golden Empire Transit.



While inconvenient, crowded classrooms prove that CSUB needs more classroom space. In fact, planning is already underway.

“Right now we have a project at the Chancellor’s office that would add two 140-station classrooms to the project that we’re currently designing, which is a humanities office building,” said Jacobs. “If we get that project funded, it would greatly relieve a whole lot of smaller classrooms.”

Associate Vice President for Faculty Affairs David Schecter said the university is trying to maximize the space they have.

“When we go to semesters we’ll be trying to spread things out,” Schecter said. Schecter said there aren’t too many of the large classrooms such as in the Business Development Center that seat 140 students.

However, CSUB is looking into more ways to add 120-seat rooms.

Financially, things have changed for the CSUs since Gov. Brown took office.

“How we’re funded has changed in the past years,” Schecter said. “We’re on our own. Governor Brown shifted funding of classes down to the campus.”



More students mean longer lines and less available seating at the Runner Café. Food Service Director David Hveem said part of this is due to the lack of a dining commons at the new residence halls.

“To build a new dining hall is millions of dollars,” he said.

Instead, the students eat their meals in the Runner Café, where limited seating is an issue.

Hveem said he is not aware of any particular long-term plans the university has for the dining situation.

“I do know that there are major concerns though,” Hveem said. “I know that it’s a topic with ASI. I also know it’s a big concern with the school, because they recognize the importance of a food service program.”