New parking lot means more spaces for students

Grapevine performs a Disney medleyPhoto by Abigail Starr '13
Grapevine performs a Disney medley
Photo by Abigail Starr '13

The college is in the process of building a new parking lot by Cunningham Fields. The parking lot is expected to be completed before this year’s commencement scheduled in May 2017.

As the college grows, the pressure for parking spaces increases. According to Assistant Dean and Director for Student Engagement, Rachel Head, the college receives over 150 student applications for parking permits every year, while only being able to grant 120. The new parking lot should allow for 160 new student parking permits but will remove student parking spaces from other lots.

“The location of the new lot will allow almost all students who receive permits to park in the same location. This will be helpful for a number of reasons, including that it will allow students who need to move their cars during the day easier access to that car.  Also, since the lot will only have student parking spaces, it will mean students who are assigned permits will always be able to find a space for their car, which should mean less driving around looking for a student space. Putting almost all student spaces in the same location will allow us to also keep better track of student parking needs,” said Head.

Construction has shortened the rugby field at Cunninham, making games more difficult. Louisa Grenham ’19, a member of the Rugby team, says that due to the construction the rugby field has been shortened.

“It’s definitely made games harder. We have to take kicks on the opposite side, so the ball doesn’t go into the construction site. It also makes sprinting the field during practice harder because we don’t have as much space,” said Grenham.

It is unclear whether or not the rugby field will be extended after construction is finished.

While much of the construction will be done before second semester, the college will not open the parking lot until later in the spring to allow the college to finish landscaping the area.

“While we could finish the lot by the winter holidays, that does not include the landscaping, of which there is a substantial amount.  So, opening in May gives us the good spring planting time to install the landscape,” said Stu Hain, Vice President for Facilities and Capital Projects.

It is important to note that the parking lot is not the only aspect of this capital project. The three million dollar budget is divided amongst a sustainability initiative, the renovation of S. Chester Road, and the lot’s construction.

The sustainability aspect of the project will cost $1,080,194, will include a storm management system, and public education about the system.

The renovations to Chester Road include widening the road and creating a mid-block cross-walk to make it easier to cross the street. The budget for that specific task is $433,604. In comparison, the new parking spots have a budget of  $1,486,203

The new parking lot will not change the way parking permits are prioritized. Seniority is the principal decider when it comes to who gets a parking permit.

“Similar to housing selection, parking applications follow a seniority-based process.  Seniors who apply on time are given priority, followed by other students who apply on time and have an extenuating circumstance (religious need, family obligation, education placement, etc.),” said Head.  “Once students with extenuating circumstances are reviewed, we move forward with juniors or sophomores who applied on time if there are permits remaining.”

Students who apply on time are always given priority over those who apply late.

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