Preparations for the construction of the new parking structure on MSU began Oct 4. with the fencing off of the construction site. At this time, no “SB” parking is available in MSU’s North Gatton parking lot, while the pay lot, handicapped and R5 reserve parking remain available for use. Additionally, South Seventh Avenue, the South Gatton lot and the Huffman lot are still open for SB permit holders.
In order to account for lost parking space during the construction, 500-700 parking spaces have been made available in the Stadium East Lot, which is open to E, F and SB permit holders. A pedestrian-controlled stoplight at the corner of Kagy Boulevard and Seventh Avenue will assist pedestrians who are coming and going from campus to the Stadium East Lot. Vehicles that are parked in the stadium lots must vacate the stadium lots by 6 p.m. on the Friday prior to home football games. The remaining home games of this season are on Oct. 24, Nov. 7 and Nov. 21.
The parking structure is part of the planned South Campus Development, which will include the Norm Asbjornson Innovation Center (NAIC). The final budget for the construction of the parking structure is $12.9 million, according to Walt Banziger, director of campus planning, design and construction. Banziger estimates the final cost will be lower at $12.5 million.
The firms involved in the construction of the structure are primarily Montana-based. Billings firm A&E Architects have partnered with the Seattle based firm ZGF which specialize in educational facilities. Bozeman company Martell Construction have been contracted to build the facility, while Walker Construction, specialists in making parking structures across the nation, are serving as consultants on the project.
Construction on both the parking structure and the NAIC will overlap in order to minimize the impact on parking arrangements while construction on both buildings is taking place. Construction work on the NAIC is currently planned to begin in fall 2016, while the parking structure is estimated to be ready for use by Jan. 2017.
Construction and planning of the structure have included the implementation of security measures to ensure the safety of those who use it. “It’s nice that we have that [low crime rate], but we are going to make sure it is safe. We are going to go through all the measures that you should have in a parking structure,” Banzinger said.
According to Sam Des Jardins, project manager for campus planning, design and construction, parking service and university police are currently analyzing the parking structures of other universities to decide what appropriate measures should be taken. Current plans include blue light phones and provisions to install video camera surveillance if necessary. Additionally the structure will be an open air garage to increase lighting level. The structure will also have have north and south stair towers to provide dual exits.
With a planned capacity of 550 parking spaces, the parking structure will create a net gain of 150 spaces for the campus, and will provide centralized parking for those seeking to access the SUB, the MSU Library and the Marga Hosaeus Fitness Center, among other things, Banziger said.
Des Jardins, agreed, saying, “There are a lot of needs right in this center area of campus … all of the groups we met with and all of the discussions we had across campus said they didn’t see those needs ever going away. So having that structure here, right in the heart of the campus, was appropriate to respond to that; it responds not just to campus needs, but to the community’s needs in interacting with the university as well.”
For more information concerning parking, MSU Parking Services can be contacted at 994-1723.