Parking issues will be addressed to deal with growing enrollment.
Lancaster –They're digging in the dirt near the parking lot of the Ohio University Lancaster Campus.That's because the first phase of an estimated $500,000 project for exterior improvements including adding spaces to the parking lot is underway.
"This is something we have needed on the Lancaster campus for some time," said Dean Jim Smith. "Our enrollment has gone up dramatically over the last few years, growing from approximately 1,500 students in 2007 to nearly 2,500 today. We need to address the parking issue for students that are often parking in the grass when they can't find a space."
Interim Physical Plant Director Mark Bateson said the first phase of the project is to make a gravel lot behind Herrold Hall and Fetters Run. About 40 cars will be able to park in the 60 foot by 200 foot gravel lot. The gravel lot will give students a place to park while crews add a 90 space bay to the parking lot in front of Brasee Hall this fall.
"The goal of the project is to make parking more accessible to students because our enrollment is up," said Bateson. "It's also going to help with the appearance of the building."
A new digital sign will be constructed at the College Avenue entrance to campus to help keep students and community members informed about events on campus.Crews are adding dirt to the area to level it out for the sign. Vistor parking and extra handicapped parking are also part of the project. Bateson said drainage issues and building waterproofing will also be addressed. The gravel lot will remain after the parking lot addition project is finished for overflow use by Ohio University Lancaster students and for community parking.
"This is good for the community," said Bateson. "People can use the gravel lot when they come to walk their dogs or use the bike path. It also can be used during the Lancaster Festival."