Months into the Tracy Hall Science Center building project, Weber State University is exploring possible solutions to accommodate parking while construction zones spread across primary parking lots.
The current construction project includes the demolition of Buildings 3 and 4 to build a new state-of-the-art science building that will take about 23 months to complete.
Mark Halverson, director of campus planning and construction, estimated about 170 parking stalls will be shut down as crews expand fencing across the A2 lot into the Bell Tower Plaza. Due to the length of this project, the A2 lot will not be in the lottery this year, which means the campus will lose some parking for a while.
“It will be quite a disturbance to the campus,” Halverson said.
However, to make up for the loss Weber State is building a new “W” lot for students. According to Crystal Taylor, WSU parking services manager, this new W10 lot should be completed by fall semester, and it will open up about 95 new parking stalls. It will sit just west of the LDS Institute and right behind the new public safety building off Edvalson.
Halverson pointed out that this new lot should accommodate students who are being displaced out of A2.
“We look for all the opportunities to put in parking lots where we can, and this is one of those lots that we’ve been planning for a while to put in,” he said.
Additional parking along Village Drive will also be made available, and the campus will gain new spaces in the W7 lot once all the police vehicles are relocated.
Despite limited space on campus, there are other alternatives to parking problems even after construction is over. Taylor and Halverson both promote the use of the Dee Event Center, as it has ample space and a shuttle that runs every seven minutes.
“The frustration can be greatly reduced by arriving a few minutes early and parking at the Dee Event Center and taking the shuttle to campus,” Taylor said. She added that there are more than enough parking spaces for students, even during the busiest times of the day.
Another solution is to embrace the campus’ green initiatives by taking advantage of public transportation. According to Halverson, WSU is working with the city to get a TRAX line to campus.
“I mean, we’re a commuter campus, so we try to provide parking where we can, but at the same time, we are working really hard on public transportation options as well,” Halverson said.
Although some changes will be implemented this year, such as new permit options, Students with Disabilities Senator Melissa Reese suggested that the biggest solution for the parking issue on campus is to inform students of the parking rules and what to do.
“I think we do a good job addressing parking here at Weber State,” Reese said. “And it doesn’t matter what campus it is, parking will always be an issue, and I think students should be aware of that.”
Further plans to address parking in the future are still up in the air. Halverson anticipates new plans to put parking in the footprint of the current science building after they tear it down, but it’s all going to boil down to the cost.