New parking deck not likely any time soon, officials said

Students shouldn’t expect to see a parking deck added any time soon to UNA’s campus, according to officials. With the announcement of UNA making the transition to Division I, many students wonder whether the university plans to implement changes, such as a new deck, to the current student parking situation on campus.

“If UNA is moving to Division I, it definitely needs more parking because more students will start enrolling,” said UNA student Jessica Addison.

The UNA master plan shows two additional parking decks on campus, said Michael Gautney, director of facilities administration and planning at UNA. The plan shows a parking deck located between the Communications Building and Norton Auditorium, turning the current ground parking into elevated parking. A third deck is planned for the west side of campus to provide parking for athletics, events and nearby student housing.

Additional funding would be required for construction of new parking facilities to begin, but Gautney does not see this happening in the near future.

UNA does own property for future development. The institution owns approximately 20 acres west of campus, but right now that space is not conducive for parking, Gautney said.

“I don’t even consider the parking deck for parking because I know there’s not going to be a spot,” said student Katie Bullen.

To alleviate current parking conditions, the parking lot behind Lauderdale Lanes at the corner of Darby Drive and Florence Boulevard is now being utilized for freshman parking. Approximately five shuttle buses run that route daily every 15 minutes, carrying students to and from campus.

“I think the off-campus parking right now is a very viable solution,” Gautney said.

Recently, 30 employee parking spaces at the old maintenance facility have been moved off campus. UNA is currently working to move parking for the custodial and grounds department to the old university police station on Waterloo Road. Employees currently parking on Oakview Circle behind Kilby School will be parking at that location to free up more spaces.

In addition to the motor pool, as well as the maintenance service vehicles being moved off campus, UNA has reduced the number of vehicles it is currently using to occupy spaces on campus, Gautney said.

“Right now, President Cale has made the new science and technology building a priority, so we are making that our priority,” Gautney said.

When construction of the new science building begins next year, it should not interfere with existing parking for students, officials said.