Student Publications to move, parking lot to be built

The Student Publications Office located at 116 East Irvine St. will soon be demolished to make way for new parking spaces on campus. The office will be moving to the old forensic science building located on Wood Avenue.

The Student Publications house and two other UNA properties on Irvine Street will be removed from campus later this semester in exchange for additional parking spaces, officials said.

Michael Gautney, director of facilities, said the Student Publications house used for both The Flor-Ala and The Diorama staffs will be removed and students working in that building will be relocated to the former forensic science building, which closed in late summer.

Gautney anticipates officials will break ground on a new parking lot with more than 30 spaces within the next three months after The Flor-Ala and The Diorama move out of their current location at the end of November.

Tearing down the three properties on Irvine Street will cost the university approximately $26,000 from the UNA capital fund, according to Gautney.

“The main benefit will be when we start construction on the new academic center,” he said. “The (new parking lot) will offset the loss of parking spaces there.”

UNA owns the Student Publications property, as well as two other houses next door, on Irvine Street. Gautney said the university has discussed ways to use those properties since they purchased them several years ago.

The forensic science building, which closed June 30 after Alabama legislators were unable to secure the $850,000 needed to run the labs, was first opened 37 years ago. Workers at the lab prepared for the move through the end of the summer.

Gautney said UNA plans to begin renovations at the forensic science building, located across from the Baptist Campus Ministries on Wood Avenue, beginning Nov. 1. Workers will repaint walls, renovate floors, remove lab equipment and fix other problems within the building before the staffs relocate.

The new parking area is still in the planning stage and has no projected cost of completion at this time, officials said. When the new academic and student commons center breaks ground next year between Rogers and Keller halls, Gautney hopes the new parking lot on Irvine will provide relief to drivers who lost parking due to the new construction.

David Shields, vice president of student affairs, said officials are still determining whether the lot will be for commuter students, faculty, community members or a combination of all three.

“The (new location) puts Student Publications a little closer to campus and gives them more space so they can grow,” he said.

This is the second relocation for Student Publications in recent years. The Flor-Ala and The Diorama staffs moved from Keller Hall to the house on Irvine Street in Dec. 2007.