A new addition to the university’s campus is in progress and is planned to serve as a parking lot to the university’s students, faculty and staff.
Many people on campus have passed by the site located on the corner of 31st Avenue and Pearl Street across from the Liberal Arts Building. The parking lot construction has been ongoing since mid-September 2014 and will be completed in two phases.
Phase one should be completed by the end of December and phase two is projected to be completed in mid-February. Once complete, the open zone parking lot will provide 148 spaces. The lot has been closed since Sept. 22 and will be paved, unlike the gravel Elam Arms parking lot across the street.
“As far as the construction is concerned, we’ve moved along quickly,” Assistant Director of Marketing & Campus Relations Michelle Shinall said. The parking lot will include upgrades such as a new surface and lighting features. The lot will be designed so that it will no longer flood.
“We’re excited to be bringing additional parking spaces for our faculty and students to use,” Shinall said. “We always know that parking is a concern and we’re progressing on it quickly and we look forward to bringing that project in.”
With the added parking lots surrounding campus and the two parking garages, campus will offer nearly 8,700 parking spaces. The university is expecting a growing number of residents and visitors needing parking. Visitor parking is expected to increase as a result of the future hotel (in planning), Thad Cochran Center, Bennett Auditorium and the Special Collections Research Center, according to the Master Plan.
“The parking lot is so necessary for this campus and I’m glad they built it,” said sophomore biology major Amani Mohamed. “More parking spots on this campus is exactly what we need.”
According to the Master Campus Facility Plan, campus has 7,280 existing parking spaces. The university, however, plans to remove certain on-street parking in the campus core as well as several internal parking lots to ensure pedestrian safety as the residential population grows.
Along with the relocation and addition of parking for the university, internal campus streets will be closed to vehicles. The university’s goal is to provide a pedestrianized core to the campus.
“I’d personally feel safer with less cars in the streets, because I can more freely get around to where I need to go on campus,” said junior nursing major Cindy Louhoo.