Penn State

Penn State to charge for parking at Berkey Creamery

You feel the urge for a nice scoop of Palmer Mousseum. Maybe you want to pick up some blueberry cream cheese or a bottle of strawberry pink Dr. Pete’s Recovery Drink.

You just need to find a place to park for a minute to run into Berkey Creamery and grab your dairy goodness and get out.

Well, the way that happens is about to see a change.

Local alumnus Thom Kupchinsky found out about it when he stopped by the parking office to pick up his new pass. The woman at the counter informed him he would have to come back later in the summer for another, one that has a bar code for a new system going in to allow pass holders to enter and leave decks without taking a ticket.

It made him wonder, what about the Creamery? Typically, patrons pull into the temporary spots, leave their flashers on and dash in and out.

“She said, ‘Well, now you’ll have to pay,’ ” Kupchinsky said.

Rob DeMayo, of Penn State’s Transportation Services, confirmed the changes in an email response to Kupchinsky, who wrote to President Eric Barron’s office to find out what was going on.

“The 24/7 operation and maintenance of our parking facilities is a costly endeavor that must be recouped through user fees,” DeMayo wrote. “Our need to park more visitors every year, as well as provide parking for faculty, staff and students at some locations means that some restrictions must be applied in these areas to ensure adequate parking is available.”

The new parking systems are being installed at the Nittany and HUB parking decks, as well as the East deck that serves the Creamery.

DeMayo explained in his email that some accommodations are being made for Creamery fans. Those stopping in for 15 minutes or less will pay 25 cents, 16 to 30 minutes will cost 50 cents, 31 to 45 minutes will be 75 cents and up to an hour will be a dollar.

That’s not making Kupchinsky feel better about his weekly stops for yogurt, cheese, Lebanon bologna and ice cream.

“I’m not going back there. There are other stores that are in this town that are more than willing to have me as a customer,” he said. “Why should I go there and make these people look good and pay for the privilege?”

The Creamery celebrated its 150th anniversary last year, having started selling dairy products in 1865, just 10 years after the university got its start as Farmers High School. The milk for those products comes from the campus herd of about 200 cows.

The ice cream served is the result of a renowned program that has taught industry leaders like Baskin-Robbins, Haagen-Dazs and Ben & Jerry’s how to fill a cone.

Summer days and football games frequently see long lines outside the building.

The Creamery closed after Christmas for renovations and reopened in time for Thon.

Lori Falce: 814-235-3910, @LoriFalce