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Regents to vote on new parking garage

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As the University of Houston continues to grow, parking remains a concern for members of the campus community.

Soon, parking worries might be eased as the UH System Board of Regents will vote on a proposal to construct a $9 million garage that will contain 900 to 1,000 spaces. The board will vote on this item Aug. 16.

David Irvin, associate vice president of plant operations, presented the garage’s plans during the recent meeting of the regents’ Administration and Finance Committee. The garage would be constructed at the northeast area of campus on Calhoun Road near the C.T. Bauer College of Business and the site of the future professional and graduate student lofts.

Construction on the garage would begin in May 2008, and the facility would be open to the campus community in time for the fall 2009 semester.

“Our goal is to have this garage up and running by the time the lofts are completed,” Irvin said. “This area of campus will be particularly busy as the lofts and Michael J. Cemo Hall also are being constructed in this northeast area of campus.”

UH’s Transportation and Parking Advisory Committee (TPAC) will make recommendations regarding how this garage will best serve the university. It is expected that the majority of the spaces will be reserved for students. When TPAC reconvenes this fall, it will begin discussions on this matter.

While the new garage is still in the planning stages, additional parking already is being added around the campus. Irvin said 250 spaces will be added by Sept. 1. This increase includes a new lot near the Burdette Keeland Jr. Design and Exploration Center, an extension of Lot 18A near the UH Law Center, an extension of Lot 16E at the northwest corner of Cullen Boulevard and Elgin Boulevard and additional spaces near Robertson Stadium.

This new garage would be in accordance with the Campus Framework Plan, which calls for a total of six parking garages to be built on campus.

The framework plan will span about 20 years and allows the university to increase the square footage of campus buildings to 15 million from 8 million and increase overall enrollment to 45,000 from 35,000. It also bolsters the student residential on-campus population from 12 percent to 25 percent. Other enhancements include increasing parking spaces and closing Cullen Boulevard to automobile traffic. Cooper, Robertson and Partners is the architecture and urban design firm that developed this plan, which divides the campus into four districts: arts, professional, stadium and undergraduate.