Even a seasoned Axis and Allies gamer might find Friday night’s parking situation at UM a strategic conundrum.
The big Griz game requires Campus Drive to close at 6 a.m. Friday morning. Fan parking and tailgate set-up starts at noon and UM employees have been asked to move their vehicles from several parking lots by 3 p.m. This, of course, all coincides with students trying to get to class and—drum roll please!—four major arts events. UM School of Theatre & Dance is showing the play You Can’t Take It With You and the dance program Dance Up Close, both at 7:30 p.m. There’s a craft show in the UC and the 26th annual art student sale and show at the Art Annex.
You won’t be surprised to hear some grumbling—including in our letters section this week—from students, faculty and staff who’ve been given a mere sliver of parking space for their patrons. In response, the administration opened up one more parking lot to non-Griz activities next to the UC.
Mark Dean, director of the School of Theatre and Dance says that it makes it tougher for art and show-goers, but that a similar situation in 2007 resulted in high game attendance and high theater attendance, so he’s not too concerned.
“Certainly it’s an inconvenience to our patrons,” he says. “But I do want to say that we support the football team. It’s just going to take some extra time to get to our shows.”
D. Marie Long, director of You Can’t Take It With You, says that the School of Theatre & Dance has a designated loading doc parking lot behind the PARTV Center, which they’ll reserve for actors and show-goers. A lot of play attendees are students who live on campus, she says, so that eases the pain of parking. And this won’t be new: Last week the play’s matinee coincided with a Griz game. Long says noise and drunken tailgaters might be an issue—they’re locking the backstage door for the first time—but she doesn’t seem too worried.
"It’s unfortunate that the parking is so limited, but we’re excited for the football team too. And because this town is so conscious of the football team I think they’re planning ahead for arts events. That’s what I hope for.”