Parking Services plans for new structures

USF’s Tampa campus has plans to use space to open more residence halls and parking structures within the next five years. If the projects go according to plan, about 5,000 students will be able to live on campus, and 2,400 more parking spaces will be available.

To reach the projected number for housing, Residence Services has plans starting in the next few weeks that will stretch until May 2007, said Tom Kane, director for Residence Services.Kane said construction on Maple and Greek housing will begin within a matter of weeks.

Kane said in May the Beta Hall parking lot will close so construction for the site of the Maple residence hall can begin. And in June, 13 buildings in the Village will be removed to make room for Greek housing. The remaining 13 buildings are scheduled to be removed in May 2003 along with renovations that will begin in Beta Hall, in addition to construction that will start for Maple II, which will be located in place of the putting green area off Maple Drive.

Kane said Beta Hall and Maple II are expected to open in August 2004, and following this project, at least one new residence hall will be opened by May 2007.

“I think we’re out of space at that point,” Kane said. While parking will be eliminated near Beta Hall, Kane said once Maple and Greek housing is finished in August 2003, parking will still be available for residents.

“Parking will stay the same, if not go up,” Kane said. “You will see a net increase because of the tear down.”

With the new residence projects, Greg Sylvester, director for Parking and Transportation Services, said he is not anticipating a major problem with parking.

Sylvester said there is one parking space for every two resident students on campus. Sylvester said that reason is because based on history there needs to be 51 percent more spaces available to accommodate parking.

However Kane said only about half the people who live on campus have a vehicle.

Sylvester said a parking lot will be built behind Greek housing to open up more spaces, but students have to realize each housing complex on campus is not going to be given an individual lot.

“The reality is people aren’t going to have parking at the front door of their complex,” Sylvester said. “Every now and then I get complaints from residents.”

In order to increase parking for students on campus, Sylvester said the Board of Trustees will have to approve a proposal for a five-year plan to open two new parking garages on campus, one in an academic area and the other near Health Sciences.Sylvester said the plan is expected to cost about $25 million, not including traffic improvements that will be needed on the roads near the garages.

As for residence parking, Sylvester said although there is a limited number of parking permits that can be sold to students, there can be a slight oversell.

“We debate that ‘do we just sell to whoever wants a permit?’ or limit the number?'” Sylvester said. “But we get criticized either way.

The issue is looked at from both sides.”

When allowing sales over the limited number of permits, Sylvester said they look at records collected from employees who patrol the lots periodically during the peak time, which is 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., to calculate the number of empty spaces in residence parking.

Sylvester’s future plans are to eventually have electronic signs that warn drivers when a lot is full and to place a traffic light on Maple Drive at the intersection of Elm Street.

Sylvester said Parking and Transportation Services will monitor rush-hour traffic during the fall to make the decision on whether the improvements are needed.

“But I have to have the money to do that,” Sylvester said. “I think everyone is aware of the financial issues in the state right now.”