Debris causes delay in parking lot construction

Debris lines Circular Road for construction of the new parking, Lot O.  The parking area will provide 215 parking areas for campus member, said Michael Gautney, assistant vice president for Facilities Administration and Planning, in an email.

The construction of the new parking lot on Circular Road faced challenges when the local landfills caused a 14-day delay in the 90-day project.

The original completion date for the project was Jan. 10. After the two-week delay, the estimated completion date is Jan. 24., said Assistant Vice President for Facilities Administration and Planning Michael Gautney in an email.

The new parking lot, Lot O, will be behind the Science Engineering and Technology Building. The area was home to 11 university apartments that the university demolished to make way for the new lot.

The Lauderdale County landfill was not able to accept construction debris for 35 days after renewing their permit with the Alabama Department of Environmental Management, Gautney said.

The project accumulated approximately 300 tons of construction debris. The crew plans to transport this to the Lauderdale County Landfill after the permit renewal.

The contractor is working quickly to make up time for the unexpected delay with the landfill. He hopes to get the project done as close to schedule as possible, Gautney said.

The construction area blocked off approximately 50 student parking spots that previously served the university apartments, Gautney said.

Students can anticipate the new parking lot to add an additional 215 spots, Gautney said.

The university is still deciding how many spots will go to commuter parking and how many will go to faculty, said Vice President of Student Affairs David Shields.

Many students hope Lot O will bring more parking lots in the future.

Freshman Alex Hughes said she is glad to see the university providing more parking.

“It really does help the university to get at least a little more parking so students will have more access to university activities,” Hughes said. “I think that would really encourage campus growth.”

Junior Colton Mason said the school wants to make the maximum amount of money with as little effort as possible.

“It’s about time (they add another lot),” Mason said. “They need three more.”

Senior Cody McCrary said although Lot O will be an improvement, it will not solve all parking issues.

“At this point we are just looking for hope,” McCrary said. “There should be one parking spot for every student on campus, and this new lot won’t help that much.”

Shields said students may not get to park directly in front of their building, but there are enough spots on campus for students.

University Police Administrative Assistant Hollon McCullar said the bus system is being underutilized. The transportation service is a way for students to get from one side of campus to the other.

Students are also encouraged to park on city streets during the day, McCullar said.

Students can call university transportation services to voice any specific concerns with areas on campus pertaining to parking. If the university does not know about issues, they cannot fix them, McCullar said.

The board of trustees will make a decision on additional projects to add more student parking in the beginning of 2018, Gautney said.

Stick with The Flor-Ala for more updates on Lot O.