Circular Road lot construction to begin in June

by Student Writer John Ed Dearman

Students might not have to circle the parking lot on Circular Road in the coming years.

The board of trustees approved the Circular Road parking lot project at the December board of trustees meeting and will begin construction at the end of the spring semester, said Vice President for Business and Financial Affairs Clinton Carter.

“Right now we are in the surveying process, and that will be finished in the next couple of weeks,” he said. “Once they are done, we will then have our architect come in and finalize designs.”

The parking lot will add 244 spaces, he said.

“(The lot) will (hold) about 60 percent of what a parking deck holds, but for a lot less money,” he said.

The estimated start date for the project is June 1, said Assistant Vice President for Facilities Administration and Planning Michael Gautney.

The total cost of the parking lot will be about $1.2 million, and the university will use some of the money left from the residence hall construction to fund it, Carter said.

“We will have about $710,000 left over from the residence halls, and we will use our own money to fund the rest of the project,” he said.

Gautney said UNA will then send the final plans to the state for approval.

The first phase of the project is the demolition of the university apartments along Circular Road, he said.

“In the next months, we will start notifying the students who live in those apartments that they must be moved out by the end of May,” Carter said. “We will do whatever we can to help them with finding new housing.”

He said the university is not terminating those students’ contracts, the university will simply not renew the contracts after they expire May 31.

Junior Bia Nogueria said even though she lives in the apartments, she is glad UNA is getting another parking lot.

“I know having a new one will really be beneficial to those students who have to drive to campus,” she said. “That’s why I don’t have a problem trying to find somewhere else to stay.”

Junior Joshua Cook said he thinks building a new parking lot is a great idea.

“I have some friends who have to park downtown just because there are no other free spaces,” he said. “It would be nice to see them be able to park closer to campus.”

Gautney said UNA will not close Circular Road during construction.

“We will make sure to do whatever we can to limit traffic on the road,” Gautney said. “We will try to have some kind of indicators on each end of the road to let people know that construction is going on and to drive cautiously.”

Carter said the university will do other things to make people drive carefully along the road.

“We will speed bump the hell out of it,” he said. “We may also have bollards, which are those large poles, to help with traffic.”

Carter said the new lot will not solve the parking issue, but it will help reduce some of the problems.

“We’re hoping that this new lot will provide congestion relief for many areas,” he said. “There won’t be as many people parking on the sides of the street anymore, and that’s something we are all really looking forward to.”

Senior Taylor Davis said he is glad UNA is getting a new parking lot and said he thinks it will be a benefit to the university.

“(I think) there won’t be as many students getting tickets from parking in illegal places,” Davis said.