The new parking garage behind the Student Services Building, which is intended to be ready for the beginning of the fall semester, will help USF students, faculty and staff find a parking space on campus a bit more easily.
The idea to construct the Collins Boulevard Parking Facility dates back as far as fall 2001. The garage will open Aug. 23, the first day of the 2004 school year.
“The parking problem has been discussed for a number of years, but (before anything could be built) there’s a question of finding financing,” said Jeff Mack, director of auxiliary services.
The budget for the new garage is estimated at $14 million, which covers the construction of the garage as well as roads leading to it and additional traffic lights.
Mack said parking garages cost more than surface lots — about $5,000 more — but there isn’t enough space on campus for ample surface parking.
“We decided to build up,” Mack said.
The Department of Parking and Transportation Services, which receives no state funds, borrowed $12 million from the state, and will repay it over a period of 20 years, Mack said. Mack added that the money students pay for parking rates and fines, in addition to transportation fees that are calculated into tuition, goes toward paying off the loan.
The five-level garage will hold 1,500 cars. Non-resident students will be allotted 1,000 of the spaces, and the rest will be designated for gold staff members and visitors.
“I drive to and from school every day and it’s always been such a hassle to find good parking that’s not miles away from my classes,” said senior Robin Solotoff. “Realistically, I know that there can’t be an instant solution, but I’m really glad that someone actually realized that there was a problem and did something about it.”
Mack said he thinks that the new parking garage will be a start to improving the parking problem at USF.
“Parking services gets a lot of negative criticism and I think that people should know that we’ve worked at (fixing the parking problem) for a long time. I think that (the garage) will be very accommodating and a great addition to our campus,” Mack said.
Further information about the parking facility can be found on the Department of Parking and Transportation’s Services Web site at http://isis2.admin.usf.edu/parking_services/garage.asp and specific questions can be addressed directly to the office at 813-974-3990.