University moves toward demolition of campus apartments

Campus apartments line Circular Road behind the Science and Engineering Technology Building. The university plans to demolish the apartments to make room for a new parking area.

News Editor Kaitlyn Davis

The university is demolishing 11 campus apartment buildings and after the rubble clears, 269 parking spaces will take their place.

The projected completion date of the construction project is Dec. 30, said Assistant Vice President for Facilities Administration and PlanningMichael Gautney in an email.

 “It is anticipated that the parking lot will be ready for use in the spring semester,” Gautney said.

The apartments due for deconstruction line Circular Road behind the Science and Engineering Technology Building and do not include the Twin Oak Apartments, he said.  

The university completed the final design for the parking lot, and demolition is scheduled to begin Oct. 1, Gautney said. Students are allowed to park at the apartment buildings until demolition begins in October, he said.   

There is not a set date for the demolition’s completion because the university has yet to choose a contractor to carry out the operation, he said.

Funds for the new parking area come from those left over from the construction of Mattielou Hall and Olive Hall, said Acting Chief Financial Officer Evan Thorton in an email.

“The residence hall project finished approximately one million under budget, so those funds have been earmarked for the parking project,” Thorton said.

There are no current plans to provide additional campus housing, he said.

Sophomore Randy Dumont said this change is welcome because he struggles to find parking in the morning before his classes.

There should be rules about who is allowed to park on campus, he said.

“I think they’re letting too many freshmen park on campus,” Dumont said.

There are additional plans to increase parking space on campus.

UNA is working on plans for phase two of the parking project which includes improvements to walkways, and more parking spaces around Floyd Hall, Gautney said.

“It is anticipated that an additional 70 parking spaces will be added if phase (two) is approved,” he said.

The board of trustees will more than likely make a decision about phase two at the beginning of 2018, Gautney said.  

If the board approves it, phase two will start after the completion of the Anderson College of Nursing Building. The completion date for the new nursing building is August 2018, Gautney said.

The university is looking beyond phase two at other ways to increase parking on campus. 

“We are currently working with city officials to evaluate the parking study that was conducted earlier this year to determine ways to improve overall parking on campus as well as throughout the city,” he said.

The difficulties of parking on campus are notorious amongst students, said junior Merri Beth Stanfield.

 “I think overall (the new parking area) is a good thing,” Stanfield said. “I know so many people are struggling with (parking issues).”