BlueCross Bowl to compromise commuter parking spots

Tech will host Tennessee’s high school state football championships Dec. 3-5. But while the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association BlueCross Bowl is a great way to showcase the University and surrounding community, its impending arrival has many scrambling.The biggest problem facing the University is parking. Event planners are expecting roughly 25,000 people in attendance, which will cause a traffic jam on campus. About 250 spaces around the Angelo and Jennette Volpe Library will be lost to fan parking, plus roughly 700 other spots on campus.

“Student Government at this time is working with the administration to consider all options to make sure students are taken care of,” SGA President Sean Ochsenbein said.

The event itself will stretch from 12th Street to University Drive and from North Dixie to Willow Avenue. This area will be reserved for TSSAA parking, which is $8.

The University’s Public Affairs Office is doing its part to help alleviate parking issues. They are working hand-in-hand with the Green Commission to seek alternate means of transportation to campus. Different apartment complexes can sign up with the commission for carpooling to campus on those days.

Also in the works is a coordinated effort with area churches, the Cookeville Mall, the South Willow Plaza, and the Upper Cumberland Human Resources Agency to provide shuttle locations for students to campus.

The remaining faculty and staff parking will be open to all students as a way to help students cope with the inconvenience, and no tickets will be issued during the event.

Tech Times, the faculty and staff newsletter, urges students and faculty to make alternate parking plans that Thursday and Friday.

More information will be released as plans are finalized, and notifications will be sent to students as the event nears.

The bowl games will start at 3:30 p.m. Thursday and end Saturday night. Sixteen teams from across the state will be competing for titles in their respective divisions.

“I am proud of the partnership between Tech and the community,” Melinda Keifer , chairperson of the Facilities and Logistics Commission for the BlueCross Bowl, said. “It is a great opportunity to showcase the University.”

According to Chamber of Commerce figures, roughly $1 million in revenue is expected to be generated by the three-day event.

The biggest boost for the University, however, is exposure. Over the course of the event, thousands of prospective students, fans and families will be flooding campus.

This joint venture between the University, Chamber of Commerce and the city of Cookeville is a great way to allow others to see our community according to Keifer.

Ochsenbein echoes those thoughts.

“The BlueCross Bowl being held here on campus is something I feel the students should embrace and be excited about,” he reiterated.

“TTU hosting such an event is a huge plus for the campus and the community. It’s a great way to show off our amazing campus and surrounding community.”

The parking spots within the yellow border will be $8 apiece.The lot within the red border is reserved for BlueCross BlueShield. Remaining campus faculty and staff parking will be open to students to help reduce the parking shortage.