New garage to benefit student, stadium parking

A former Texas Tech student, who described parking on campus five years
ago as frustrating, started a project aimed at easing some everyday
parking problems and providing more game-day parking for Tech football
texas garage158873747.jpgClayton Isom, a Tech alumnus and CEO of Tao, said the project was inspired from the frustration he had when parking at the university as a student. Since I moved out of the dorms, every day was a battle to find space without getting on a bus, he said. We knew there were enough students and Tech fans that wanted to get closer to the stadium and campus that it would work.

The development, dubbed Raider Park, will host student parking during the week at $350 per year and will host Tech football game-day parking for $1,500 per season. The garage will be located north of Jones AT&T Stadium across the Marsha Sharp Freeway, just east of the pedestrian bridge leading to the stadium. According to a release about the development, more than 1,200 students are on a waiting list for commuter parking and more than 4,000 are on a waiting list for covered parking. The only covered parking lot on campus is the Flint Avenue Parking Garage.

The group hopes to open the garage Sept. 1, in time for the first Tech football game. The Red Raider Club and Texas Tech Alumni Association partnered with the group for the 563,584 square-foot garage. Isom said the development group wanted the Red Raider Club and the alumni association to join the venture instead of competing against the university for game-day parking.
texas garage75411938.jpgThis project should overhaul the environment for a Texas Tech game day, he said. The structure also will host a sports bar and grill and a rooftop bar that will be exclusive to game-day permit holders on game day but will be open to the public from Monday through Friday year round.

Student parking permits will not provide parking rights in the garage on game day. The rooftop open-air lounge also will overlook the stadium and ground-floor retail areas will be available, according to digital renderings of the site.

Steve Uryasz, the senior associate athletic director and executive director of the Red Raider Club, said they decided to accept the invitation from Isom to be a consultant and help sell parking to members. No. 1 is obviously we have the expertise on game-day parking, he said. So when the alumni association and Tao came to us, we were able to help them.

One of the main goals of the organization was to create a situation where there was no competition for game-day parking, Uryasz said. And as the stadium expands and the university expands, that demand is raised. He also said the structure would help with the atmosphere during game days.

I think the reality of it is any time you can create a better environment around your stadium, the answer is yes, Uryasz said. Those (schools) that can really create fun environments around their stadium, it really adds to it. Bill Dean, associate vice president of the alumni association, said Tao contacted the association about a year ago asking them to become involved.

The revenue that we will make off of this will be to help our scholarship program, he said, which is probably the most critical need Texas Tech has. The permits also will be tax deductible, he said, making the cost somewhat less of a burden on those who purchase them. The structure also will be close to the new Rawls College of Business building, Dean said, which will make it more attractive to students in that college.

Mary Jane Buerkle, vice president of communications at the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce, said the development also will provide a boost to the regional economy. Any time you have new jobs in the city, it is a tremendous boost to our economy, she said. Especially with additions on campus that are focused around football game days, Buerkle said the dining and beverage businesses will add to an already overflowing bucket of outstanding entertainment and dining opportunities around the city. Isom said the restaurant and bar will alleviate the need to walk from the stadium to Broadway for those businesses, and permit holders only will need to walk across the pedestrian bridge.

During the construction of the development, about 300 jobs will be created, according to the release. About 25 to 30 permanent jobs also will be created. While Lubbock has not experienced the kind of economic downturn as the rest of the nation, Buerkle said, it is helpful to the economy anytime a new job is created.

Heather Medley, marketing and training coordinator with University Parking Services, said the university is subletting spaces from Tao. Despite conducting surveys to find out how many spaces they need, she said the results were split and the department was required to glean information from other sources as to how many spaces it needed. Medley said the garage will give the students more spaces to park in, but plenty of spaces still are open in satellite parking lots.
TAO Development
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