Even before the announcement of an expansion to the Love School of Business, students complained about parking. Now that construction is slotted to take place in the McMichael parking lot for the new building, there are concerns that student parking on campus will be even more scarce.
According to University Architect Brad Moore, students and faculty will still be able to use the McMichael lot during construction.
“I think a large part of that parking lot will remain in use during construction and after construction,” he said. “There will be some spaces that will be impacted but the majority of them will remain in place.”
Moore explained that they chose that location for the Love School of Business expansion because of the street-front presence and the potential to create another quad for students.
Moore said despite complaints from students about a lack of viable parking options, there is plenty of space on South Campus that is not being used by faculty or students. He said that several years ago the university constructed a lot east of Powell House with about 300 spaces that has seen minimal use.
“There are parking lots on South Campus and at the Francis Center that have very limited use, so I think we have a surplus of parking on our campus,” he said. “On top of that, we are required by zoning to provide so many parking spaces based on the square footage we have on campus. I’ve worked with the Town [of Elon] to make sure we have enough spaces.”
Currently, students acquire parking permits according to where they live on campus or if they are considered commuter students. Students without permits or who park in the wrong lot are at risk of receiving a ticket or having their car towed.
Moore said the university is considering adding more parking spaces in various locations on campus as they plan to expand. He said they are currently looking at the possibility of additional parking near the tennis courts, in the Danieley Center and on South Campus.
“We know that as we continue to develop we are going to add some parking, so we’re studying where the next locations would potentially be,” he said.
According to Dean of the School of Communications Paul Parsons, the construction of Dwight C. Schar Hall has not severely impacted parking near the communication school. Faculty and staff who used to park in the lot currently overtaken by construction now park along Lebanon Street or in the church parking lot near downtown.
He said when construction is complete, between 10 and 12 spaces will reopen, but there has been ample space for faculty and staff during construction with Lebanon and the church lot available to them. He did say that temporary parking spaces behind McEwen are currently “in talks.”
The three spaces would be available for 15 minutes to allow communications students to park close to transfer heavy broadcast equipment to their cars. Parsons added their proposed idea is awaiting approval.
As of the 2015-2016 academic year, students can park by the Danieley Center, Colonnades, Arts West, Hunt Softball Park, the Wellness Center, Oaks, Francis Center, McMichael and East Gym based on their permits.
Moore said the university is currently working with a master planning company called Ayers Saint Gross to determine how to meet the needs of students, faculty and staff as Elon expands.
“Right now we’re meeting requirements by the zoning requirements and we have more than what is currently required,” he said. “There are several parking lots that I drive by on a regular basis where they’re not being fully used to capacity, so I don’t know that we have a parking problem, per se, but it will take some careful thinking as we continue to expand the campus to answer that question of where the new parking lots, where the new building spaces will be.”