Those hoping to tailgate at Beaver Stadium for the 2008 football season may have to find an alternative place to set up.
The construction of the Arboretum at Penn State, slated to begin in January, could add to those parking woes as early as the 2008 football season. It will not affect the 2007 season.
"We're at a point right now [before construction] where we have just enough space," said Bob Hudzik, athletic field supervisor.
He said he was unsure of the exact amount of acres available for parking or how much the removal of the Mitchell Tract will affect that total. The Mitchell Tract is the 56 acres encompassing most of the space between Bigler and Shortlidge roads that are bordered by Park Avenue.
State College Police Lt. Dana Leonard said there hasn't been much tailgating on campus or downtown in the past, but some students said that will change if the Mitchell Tract is unavailable.
Kyle Corinchock (junior-actuary science), a brother at Chi Phi fraternity, said his fraternity might resort to simply having parties downtown before the games.
"If there's no room, there's no room," he said. "We'll most likely [tailgate] here and then go up to the game."
Josh Haladay (senior-civil engineering), a brother at Tau Phi Delta, also said the fraternity was more likely to have their tailgating moved to their chapter house.
"I think [the construction] will limit the amount of tailgating," he said. "Instead of us tailgating out there, we'll probably just have it here then go out to the games."
Leonard said even with increased pre-game parties downtown, the borough is more concerned with dangerous underage drinking.
"In a way, regardless of where the furnishing takes place, people who host the parties are the most at risk," Leonard said.
Penn State University Police Assistant Chief Clifford Lutz said it is currently too early to say whether the loss of space would have an impact on drinking on campus.
"It's over a year away ... and in part, would be contingent upon athletics," he said.
Lutz said police would continue to push for more Park and Ride services so fans don't have to drive near the stadium.
"We park around 30,000 cars," Hudzik said. "For certain games, it's a real crunch for us."
He said the space that will be lost to the arboretum is only used in its entirety depending on the weekend's game and the flow of traffic.
"A lot of people don't understand the complexity of this. There are a lot of factors that come into play," Hudzik said.
He said those factors include the amount of recreational vehicles present, which depends heavily on the popularity of the opponent, kickoff time and weather.
Hudzik said that during construction, other areas may be opened, though he did not say what the areas were.
"The Mitchell Tract will be a significant hit to us," he said. "We work closely with [the agriculture department] and will open a few areas that we normally don't use."
Reaction to the arboretum construction near the stadium was mixed among students, most of whom were in favor of the arboretum itself.
"This is the Farmer's High School -- they have to keep with that tradition and be a leader in agriculture," said Chris Arnott (junior-engineering). "If it's about education, then I think it's worth it."
But Lauren Ingram (sophomore-liberal arts) said space constraints already posed a problem.
"[The arboretum] sounds nice, but if there's already a lack of space for tailgating, it might interfere with that," she said.