In order to accommodate the construction of the new science building in Lot X beginning in 2015, university officials have been working to replace the lost parking area with the purchase of additional land and a request for lot construction.
“We were able to acquire some additional land that will allow us to expand existing surface parking,” said Greg Diemer, the vice chancellor for business affairs. “We now own all the houses south of the fire station west of the Noel Fine Arts
Center and have begun the design of a 75 car lot at that location.”
The university has also been able to acquire a house east of the Newman Center. This will allow for a driveway to be installed off Fourth Avenue, which will add an additional 25 spaces to Lot T.
Construction of the new lot is aimed to begin yet this academic year.
“Project design is currently on hold with approximately 35 percent of the design complete,” said Carl Rasmussen, the director of facilities planning. “Before design can proceed to 100 percent with plans and be bid to construction contractors, the campus needs to receive approval to move forward from the State Building Commission.”
The university’s request was to be reviewed at the August building commission but was held over. Because the commission is not expected to meet until December or January, officials are now pursuing a separate authority to complete plans. This would allow bidding to occur in March 2015 with the project being complete by the start of the fall 2015 semester.
Diemer said that work on the driveway off Fourth Avenue will probably not occur until the summer of 2016.
“So far, we have been able to accommodate parking demand and will be discussing approaches with the city to make on-street parking more student and user-friendly,” Diemer said.
This will include increasing the meter time from two to four hours.
As for the previously proposed parking structure, Diemer said that administration will consider it when there is more pressure on parking once the new location is developed.