Fees may fund new parking garage

By and

U administrators will likely get the go-ahead to borrow more than $21 million to build a parking garage in the northwest corner of campus.

State lawmakers passed a bill Wednesday that includes a provision allowing the U to borrow the money and pay it back with parking fees and donations. Gov. Jon Huntsman must now sign the bill.

However, administrators said they hope to build the structure without increasing parking fees for students and faculty members.

“We certainly haven’t planned any increase in parking fees at this time,” said Arnold Combe, vice president for administrative services.

Combe said fees could be used to pay for the parking garage, but the U hopes to avoid making burdensome fee increases. He said the administration is working to get donors to help pay for the garage.

Alma Allred, director of U Commuter Services, said even though the U hopes to encourage more students to use public transportation, “there’s nothing in the works to increase student parking fees.”

House Bill 5 specifically allows the Utah State Board of Regents to issue or sell bonds on behalf of the U to pay for the project.

Plans for the parking garage are unclear at this point. A site for the parking garage hasn’t been selected, but administrators are considering several options including an underground garage at Presidents’ Circle and an above-ground structure that would replace the Military Science Building.

“We don’t have any particular structure in the works right now,” Combe said. “This is really something out there in the future.”

He said construction on the project will probably not begin for a couple of years and the legislature’s move was simply a stamp of approval to move forward.

Allred said the U got authorization about 10 years ago to build a parking structure in front of the Union, but the idea didn’t pan out.

The U has been looking to add additional parking space in the northwest corner of campus for several years. Venues, such as Kingsbury Hall and Libby Gardner Hall, need additional parking areas to accommodate their patrons, Combe said.

“There’s really no parking (in the northwest) quadrant of campus,” he said.

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