A total of 76 new parking spaces will be added at two separate on-campus locations in an effort to alleviate the much-debated issue of parking at Slippery Rock University.
Construction on the new lots began on Feb. 4. The new spaces are set to fill what were previously gravel lots adjacent to the Alumni Pavilion behind Jack Critchfield Park, and between the Art Sculpture Building and Wally Rose Field.
The spaces will be divided evenly between the two locations and are open to anyone with a university-sanctioned parking permit, including commuters, residents and staff.
The project is expected to be completed by the end of March according to Scott Albert, assistant vice president of facilities, planning and environmental safety.
“Students have expressed concerns about having enough parking on campus, and this was the quickest way we could provide some relief,” Albert said. “We started the process in September, but it takes time to work through the design and permitting issues.”
Albert acknowledges that parking has always been an area of complaint for the student body. He reiterated that no further action will be taken to expand parking options on campus for commuters, staff and residents until the summer of 2020.
“This is something short-term that we came up with to provide some additional overflow parking until we can start implementing some of the parking recommendations from the master plan over the next several years,” Albert said.
The master plan was a term coined by Dr. Amir Mohammadi, SRU’s vice president of finance, during an address he gave to the Slippery Rock Student Government Association (SRSGA) in Oct. 2017.
“The problem is that the parkers of today end up paying to help the parkers of tomorrow,” Mohammadi said. “That is why we need short term, mid-term and long term solutions to this problem.”
Mohammadi said then that he and his team were exploring several different avenues to address student concerns. Some of these proposals included the possibility of constructing a parking garage or increasing the price of university parking permits.
The last formal statement Mohammadi made on the issue of parking was in an interview with The Rocket in Nov. 2017, when he said that he and his master planning committee were assessing issues of cost and reaching out to student leaders on campus to obtain their insight on the issue.
“Students have the power to make change; they must never forget that,” Mohammadi said. “Their concerns over parking have not gone unheard, and they will ultimately have their needs met. That’s the goal of our committee: to adequately represent our students.”
Multiple attempts were made to reach Mohammadi and his office, but he could not be reached for comment on any future university plans for creating additional parking spaces.