Coronado residents unhappy with impending construction
The construction of a five-story parking garage across the street from Coronado Residence Hall has some residents concerned about the already scarce campus parking spaces, as well as construction disruptions and noise.
"I feel like I can't take my car out of the parking lot because I'll never get a parking spot again," said Allison Judd, an elementary education sophomore. "It'll probably be very disruptive."
About 300 of the 431 spaces in lot 5065 - one of the largest Zone One lots on campus - will be sacrificed for the $25 million Tyndall Avenue parking structure, said Patrick Kass, director of UA Parking and Transportation. Construction is scheduled to begin Dec. 15, and be finished by next fall.
Although the construction of the garage may inconvenience Coronado residents, Kass said the 1,000-space project will benefit University of Arizona students as well as employees and visitors.
"We're going to do our best to go through this process as smoothly as possible. Once the facility is open, I think the benefits will be felt immediately," he said. "It's better to have the parking now with minimal impacts."
James Van Arsdel, director of Residence Life, said that aside from providing additional parking, the consolidation of parking surface area into a multi-story garage will free up some of the existing lot space for future residence halls.
Van Arsdel also predicted that students living close to the construction will adjust to the changes in the landscape.
"We've had construction a lot closer to the residence halls in the past, and students have survived," he said. "Is it going to be disruptive? Certainly. Is it going to be manageable? Of course."
Construction noises - especially during the evening - are also a concern for students.
"I hope they don't do it at night," Judd said. "I have finals up until that Friday (Dec. 17)."
Despite construction beginning during finals week, the noise associated with it should not occur while students are studying, Kass said.
"The construction is going to be limited to normal hours. There may be some off hours, but that will be kept to a minimum because of the neighborhoods and residence halls," Kass said. "For the first couple of days, they'll be installing fences, moving in their support equipment, and possibly some earthwork. But that will all be daytime."
Marc Johnson, a business freshman, said he was concerned about the burden of searching for a parking place in Zone One lots elsewhere.
"It's pretty convenient to park your car in the parking lot," Johnson said. "My friends have cars, and I use their cars. They'll probably have to resort to metered parking, parking off campus - it'll probably be a pain."
However, this issue may be solved by a revamped CatTran system. Shuttle routes would be modified to transport students to and from the alternative lots, some as far east as North Warren Avenue and East Sixth Street.
Kass said workers will be kept to a strict timeline to build the garage in time for student use next year.
"We're going to hold the contractor to a very tight schedule," he said. "We're anticipating that the project can remain on schedule, and we have some contiguous plans if it does not."
Kass said he hopes the UA driving community will adjust to the temporary changes in parking availability. Information on the changes is posted on the Parking and Transportation Web site and in the neighboring residence halls of Arizona-Sonora and Kaibab-Huachuca.
Fliers were also distributed to cars in the Coronado lots and mailed to employees' homes.
"We realize it's a major impact, and that's why we're trying to educate people about the construction project," he said.
Kass said he expects some displeased permit holders to complain about the new limitations, but his department's best answer is to publish information.
"As with any major project, I'm sure we'll have to deal with phone calls from individuals when construction begins," Kass said. "But we're trying to get information out in a timely manner."