Parking garage will offer free weekend parking

by Kristin Gustafson

Regents approved a new $10 million above-ground parking ramp Monday that will serve the Gateway center and surrounding recreation facilities.
The University Avenue ramp, scheduled for completion in October 2000, will replace plans for an Oak Street and Washington Avenue underground ramp and a grassy knoll that was meant to complement the look of the Gateway center. Last spring the Board of Regents abandoned this plan after the costs proved higher than expected because the underground ramp would have reached into the water table.
The new five-level ramp will cost less and offer more than 100 parking spaces than the previous 300-space underground garage.
Facing University Avenue, the structure will replace a surface lot sandwiched between the Gateway center, University Recreation and Aquatic centers, Williams Arena and the Sports Pavilion. This ramp will also serve the parking needs of the surrounding sports facilities with special events.
The surface lot at Oak Street Southeast and Washington Avenue will stay on through the spring to help with campus parking, said Eric Kruse, vice president of University Services.
“We are trying to be sensitive to our parking crunch,” he said.
The board will decide in September permanent plans for the Oak and Washington lot, Kruse said.
As part of the University Avenue Ramp plans, the University will construct a long-term surface parking lot north of the Radisson Hotel and a short-term surface parking lot south of the Aquatic Center, which will add more than 200 parking spaces to the area.
Tunnels will join the University Avenue Ramp with the Gateway center, which also connects by tunnel to the Radisson Hotel.
Regent David Metzen, facilities committee vice chairman, described the new ramp as “very handsome.”
About one-third of the space will be allocated for contract parking and the rest will be hourly spots.
In addition, the new ramp would make University facilities more accessible to the larger community with free parking on weekends.
University President Mark Yudof said he was pleased with the effort to make it easier for people to come onto campus and use facilities like the hockey rink.
Additional Regent Notes

ù Regents approved plans for a $415,000 computer laboratory for the Department of Educational Psychology.
The 1,760 square foot laboratory will house 40 computers for class, programming and lab use on the third floor of Burton Hall.
The project was inadvertently left off the University’s fiscal year 2000 capital budget last June because of a misunderstanding about the budget procedure, said Kruse.
“The money is already dedicated from the Department of Psychology and College of Liberal Arts,” he said.

ù Committee members approved a three-year lease agreement for 15,319 square feet of space at 720 Washington Ave. for the student organizations and cultural centers displaced by the Coffman Union renovation.
“We wanted students to get into the building by the fall of 2001,” said Regent Jessica Phillips, facilities committee chairwoman. The committee voted for the move Monday, rather than waiting for September’s full Board of Regents meeting, because they did not want the project delayed, she said.