Parking garage to offer 1,200 new spots

During the last seven months, the construction of the first parking garage at Virginia Tech has resulted in the loss of several hundred parking spaces, but the structures completion early next semester should offset that loss.
virginia.jpgThe 1,200-vehicle parking deck will be opened to the public in mid-August or the beginning of September of 2010, said Richard McCoy, parking manager of Parking Services.

The structure is planned to alleviate much of the stress commuters and graduate students have experienced with the lack of parking availability. According to McCoy, faculty and staff will be assigned the lower floors, leaving commuters and graduate permit holders to parking spaces in the rest of the five-level deck.

In addition, there will be plenty of Americans with Disabilities Act handicap-accessible spaces, McCoy said, although the precise number has not yet been established.

On-campus resident student parking will not be allowed in the parking deck.

Not everyone is happy about the changes. Brian Stitt is a senior finance major whose parking experience in the Prices Fork lots is less than ideal.

Well, its absolutely awful. Im never sure that Ill be able to park, Stitt said. Ive given complete strangers rides to their cars so I can get their spots if it gets bad. Its pretty clear where to park, just very inconvenient.

There will not be an extra charge for people as they enter to park in the parking structure, McCoy said. However, because of the $26 million budget of the project, the cost of parking permits is set to rise in the following years.

In an attempt to provide the student body, faculty and staff with an aesthetically interesting environment, Parking Services updates to the construction include plans for a small plaza area with benches and appropriate landscaping, enabling a gathering location for future garage users.

The construction has also prompted some faculty to incorporate the project into classes.

Architecture students will be analyzing the relationship of the structure with the campus and redefining what is already in existence.

There is an architectural question bigger than the project itself, said Shelley Martin, an associate professor of architecture. All of a sudden, plants, sidewalks and entrances become more important. The location for this deck was based on the belief that we want a pedestrian campus. The idea of how people move through the campus and the sense of communitywere crucial.

The disruption caused by the construction will be outweighed by the benefits, according to Frank Weiner, a professor in Techs School of Architecture + Design.

During construction, the project is a temporary inconvenience, Weiner said. Once completed, it brings about a nice density. The master plan starts to connect.

Because of the limited parking spaces as a result of the construction, people have been unsure of the appropriate parking locations, McCoy said.

Parking is allowed around the construction area, and open spaces are available for commuter/graduate permit holders on Duck Pond Road.

Parking Services has received no complaints about people parking on Perry Street, McCoy said.
Virginia tech
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