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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


“Parking, facilities ready for commencement”

?As the UA inches toward commencement, the lesser-known faces on campus are helping to prepare for a problem-free ceremony.

With sold-out crowds expected in McKale Center, the UA’s Parking and Transportation Services is making sure parking issues do not detract from celebrating the event.

“”Commencement is one of the premiere events for the whole year for the University,”” said Bill Davidson, marketing manager for Parking and Transportation Services. “”We want to make sure that we provide safe and convenient parking for everyone that comes to campus.””

Davidson said parking is a key component that is being monitored to help ensure an efficient commencement ceremony.?

Elisa Tapia, program coordinator for special events at Parking and Transportation Services, is in charge of coordinating parking for any event with more than 75 planned attendees, including sporting events and events held at Centennial Hall. She plans to make sure people know where they can get free and viable parking options around campus.

“”We are reserving the lots from the garages around the perimeter of the graduation and convocation location,”” Tapia said. “”We are going to make people know that areas should be cleared for visitors coming to commencement.””

Chris Kopach, director of facilities management, oversees more than 500 employees involved in areas such as campus custodial services, utilities and ground services. He said his most important aspect in ensuring a flawless commencement is communication with his team, especially at weekly operating meetings.

“”I’ve always been heavily involved in communication with Facilities Management and I make sure we’re communicating very well,”” Kopach said, “”We have routine operational meetings on a weekly basis and we have a maintenance operation meeting, and at that time we go ahead and look at our major events on campus and make sure our key players know what the right and left hand are doing.””

Kopach has worked with Facilities Management for 15 years. Though it is his first year as director, he had a practice run for commencement when President Barack Obama visited campus.

“”If I remember the words exactly, they said, ‘Chris, I want to have it set up like graduation was set up, but instead of having three days you have 24 hours,'”” Kopach said.

Kopach said he was proud of his team for the positive feedback they received from this event.

“”That was a huge team effort from our facilities management staff in making that happen,”” he said. “”Facilities Management received team of the year for their contribution to the set up and making sure that ran smoothly, so I thought that represented the university very well and everyone was very proud of it.””

Tapia said she is not worried about potential problems, such as a lack of parking availability, and is excited to be involved with such a momentous part of people’s lives.

“”Usually it’s more of a fun, joyous event and it gives us an opportunity to welcome the parents who come from out of town,”” Tapia said. “”It gives us an opportunity to welcome them to campus and offer them good customer service.””

Davidson said that because many students will not be on campus during commencement, roads on campus will remain open and garages will function on a usual schedule. 

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