Progress is being made on upper-campus parking structure

Construction for new parking structure is scheduled to be finished by April 2014.



| Tomber Su/THE CHIMES

Augusta McDonnell, Writer

The new parking structure, being constructed in the previous parking lot behind Alpha, will offer 939 parking spaces. A final completion date continues to be unknown, but senior director of facilities management Brian Phillips comments, "This too shall pass." | Tomber Su/THE CHIMES


Construction efforts on the new upper-campus parking structure are on budget and on schedule, according to Jody Spicer, project manager for construction under facilities planning. The project is anticipated to be finished by April 2014.

This structure will be accessible from both a north and south entrance, and will offer five decks and 939 parking spaces, according to Spicer. It is being built in phases.

“What we’ve worked on so far is foundations, and as you’ve probably seen, the vertical columns that they’re pouring now,” Spicer explained. “Once that gets done, they’re going to drop back and start pouring the lower-level slab and once that happens, they’ll be able to start the decking.”

The workers are expected to start the decks around the first of October. Upon returning from interterm, students can expect the bulk of the structure to be nearly complete. The only thing left to do will be painting, landscaping, and other finishing touches, which will take about two months.

Construction on upper campus isn’t going away after the parking structure’s completion, however. The next project will be a new dorm, temporarily named North Hall. Groundbreaking will begin immediately after the structure is finished.

North Hall will probably be the last dorm built, Spicer said. It will feature four stories, 353 beds and its own food service.


Commuters and dorm residents alike expressed their concerns regarding the new parking structure and campus plans for accommodating an increase in enrollment, as well as the day-to-day inconveniences of living and studying near a construction site.

“There’s some people at the end of the hall who it bothers, but I’m in the middle, so it doesn’t bother me,” said Emmeline Kaarsgaren, a freshman living in Alpha, referring to the noise caused by the construction work.

Horton resident and junior Nick Hahn described how the construction project affects his day. Despite the trouble it causes, he understands that the construction is a necessary inconvenience.

“It just makes it more difficult to get on and off campus, and it makes parking kind of a stinker,” Hahn said. “The structure has to happen though … because of the planning for the new dorm.”

Junior Jonathan Gramenz, who serves as a resident advisor in Horton, believes that other strategies should be used to accommodate the forecasted enrollment increase.

“As a student, I know I don’t see all the facets of whatever is going on, but I feel like they should do other things to prepare for expansion besides build a parking structure,” Gramenz said.

Offering a commuter’s perspective, junior Kristina Nishi explained the way the construction project impacts her day.

“Sometimes I get lucky and get a close spot, but sometimes I have to park way out in the boonies,” she said.

She also mentioned feeling unsafe walking back across campus after dark to get to her car.

“Honestly, I think their money would’ve been spent better building a structure near the business building; that’s where a lot of classes are…it’s a pain to have to walk all the way up there in the heat,” Nishi said.


Senior director of facilities management Brian Phillips explained the timing of building the upper-campus parking structure, stating that it will only get more difficult to accommodate for parking as enrollment goes up. This increase, Phillips said, will happen slowly over the next ten years.

Phillips responded to student concerns about the ongoing construction.

“This too shall pass,” he said.

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