New garage to be built with Gateway center

Erin Ghere

Ten months from completion, the Gateway center is already a monolith of construction in the University’s skyline. Soon, underground construction will begin on the last portion of what will become home to many University departments.
After winter quarter, the parking lot on the corner of Washington and 16th avenues will be eliminated to make way for the subterranean project. The construction will not only burrow a hole in campus parking spaces, it will dig deeply into Parking and Transportation Services’ pocket.
In place of the lot — which once provided 1,200 parking spaces and has since been trimmed to 343 — crews will build the Gateway garage. With its 200 public spaces and 100 contract spaces, the new ramp will contain 900 fewer parking spaces than the original lot. On the Minneapolis campus, no plans are in the works to compensate for the loss.
The parking garage will be financially self-sufficient, said Cari Hatcher, public relations coordinator for Parking and Transportation Services.
“The only way student money would be involved is if students chose to park there once it is built,” she said.
The final bill for the garage, along with a grassy knoll above it and skyways connecting it with nearby buildings, totals $10 million. An internal University loan has been issued to build the garage. Parking and Transportation Services will be paying it back for the next 30 years, Hatcher said.
They will do so through the proceeds from the garage itself, which meets one of the Board of Regents’ main policies regarding parking on campus.
Additions to campus must also comply with the University’s Master Plan, “the document by which all building and facilities planning is done,” said Regent Maureen Reed.
Integrating the city and the campus is one of the main directives of the plan for the Stadium Village area.
“It is all part of trying to knit the University and the community together,” said Clint Hewitt, associate vice president of Master Planning.
Much like other parking garages and ramps on campus, the Gateway garage will charge $1.70 per hour for its 200 public parking spaces, replacing the surface lot’s per day rate of $2.50.
The 100 contract spaces will be priced higher than other spaces around campus. The normal cost is $70 per month; spaces in the Gateway ramp will go for $120 per month. Hatcher said she expects most of the contract spaces to be taken by employees in the Gateway building.
The same will not necessarily be true for the public parking.
“We expect (the public parking) to be a combination,” she said.
Tom Garrison, spokesman for the Alumni Association, said employees at the Gateway center won’t fill up the public spaces. Some may be reassigned to spots closer to the Gateway building, which could include the garage.
Hatcher said the 1,200-space parking lot, created after Memorial Stadium was torn down in 1992, was never intended to be permanent.
She also noted functional advantages to the new garage.
“There is a definite attraction of parking in a garage, especially in this climate,” Hatcher said.
Regent Reed added that less surface lots mean more green area, and better campus aesthetics. While approval is still pending, plans for a grass plaza around the Gateway center include an outdoor fire pit, amphitheater, trees and open space.