As construction for one parking venture winds down, another is just beginning.
A new parking garage is under consideration at UCF. It would be located between Garage C and the Arboretum and meetings to discuss specifics will begin in April, said Krishna Singh, director of Parking and Transportation.
While the new garage has yet to enter planning stages, the Garage C expansion is nearing completion. The project, which began in November 2015, will add 600 new parking spaces to the main campus and should be finished by July.
Garage C currently has 1,290 parking spots available to students. Upon completion of the project, there will be 1,890 spots, nearly a 50-percent increase in parking spots in the garage. The project is estimated to cost $9 million, UCF spokesman Mark Schlueb said.
Parking and Transportation Services is paying for the expansion project through money collected from parking permits, parking citations and the transportation access fee that is a part of student tuition dollars, which is currently $9.10 per credit hour.
There are 18,263 parking spots on main campus — 11,313 are available to students and 1,898 are dedicated to faculty and staff.
Although construction is projected to take roughly 9 months, Garage C remains open for use. One of the two entrances into the garage is temporarily closed, however, and students can expect some minor traffic from construction.
“Students may see some disruption of traffic around the garage as this project moves forward,” Schlueb said. “There might occasionally be some lane closures on Gemini Boulevard because the actual structure is going in between the garage and Gemini Boulevard.”
The expansion project is a part of UCF’s five-year capital improvement plan, Schlueb said. The plan helps the university budget and plan for upcoming expenses related to construction or renovation.
“It’s essentially stuff we want to build for the next five years or things that might need to be renovated,” he said.
Singh explained that the Garage C expansion is in direct response to the construction of Global UCF, which took away hundreds of student parking spaces from the area. Global UCF is a new building aimed at appealing to international students and will be located on Memory Mall.
“We have a combined 600 spaces being lost due to the new building, so the extension of the garage is 600 spaces to accommodate for that loss,” said Singh, who added that the project has been in the works for quite some time now.
“It takes about a year for the planning, and then you have to get permits and surveys, check with environmental inspections and more," he said.
The university’s five-year plan contains 17 sections that dictate and guide the university in its expansion and growth, according to Christopher Clemente, cabinet chief of Student Government Association. One of the 17 sections is parking and transportation, from which parking expansions stem.
Parking concerns on campus are a common sentiment among students — there are only 11,313 parking spots for students on a campus that hosts tens of thousands of students every day.
To alleviate parking concerns, Clemente explained, campus will see an additional 2,000 parking spaces to be added for students by 2020, according to the five-year plan.
“The university is going to go through some growing pains,” he said. “But I know once it’s completed, the university will be better off as well.”
Marc Sznapstajler is a contributing writer for the Central Florida Future.