Students looking to park in College Baptist Church’s lot now must register their vehicles with Hillsdale College security.
After noticing an increase of students using the privately-owned lot for parking this year, College Baptist’s board of trustees approached Hillsdale College in the late fall about make a formal agreement for its use, expressing concerns about the lot’s use and clearing it of snow during the week.
“We recognize parking is a premium at our proximity to the college,” said Mike Roberts, who is also the assistant headmaster and athletic director for college-owned Hillsdale Academy. “We wanted to figure out how we would be able to have control over the parking lot and be more upfront in communication both ways.”
Signs marking the lot for student parking 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Monday through Friday were put up on Tuesday, said Bill Whorley, director of campus security. Notices also reserve the first two rows in the lot for church visitors, staff, and attendees.
“Essentially it provides an option of another place for registered students to park,” Chief Administrative Officer Rich Péwé said in an email. “We’re very appreciative of the good people at College Baptist Church to go out of their way to be helpful to the college.”
In return for permission to use the lot, the college is also providing maintenance, including snow removal on the weekdays, Whorley said.
“We think it’s a win-win for both,” College Baptist Pastor Ben Cuthbert said.
Enforcement will begin on Monday to give students time to register their vehicles with security. Registration costs $50 for each academic year.
Although some students living off campus expressed annoyance at having to register their vehicle if they want to park there, they noted the need for more parking.
“I frequently park there because I was able to park there and on Hillsdale Street without having to register my car or worry about getting ticketed,” senior Joshua Liebhauser said. “Construction makes it difficult to park on the north side of campus. There are not a lot of options for parking, so upperclassmen frequently park there or farther away.”
College Baptist and Hillsdale College have had a history of sharing facilities, even after they formally broke ties in the 1960s. The church typically holds the school’s convocation ceremony, and 50 to 100 students regularly attend service there.
The college and church’s agreement exists on a month by month basis, and they plan to review it, after the stipulations are implemented.
“We’d like to try it, and we hope it works out well,” Roberts said.