A discussion un-parked: Board of Regents weighs pros, cons of parking garage


File photo

A full parking lot sits adjacent to Eck Stadium on Wichita State’s campus.

Chelsea Moore

Wichita State is seeking approval from the Kansas Board of Regents (KBOR) to build a parking garage, announced Monday in a news release from the university.

The parking garage, if approved, would be constructed just south of the Rhatigan Student Center, and the entrance would face Perimeter Road.

“We have requested the item be placed on the agenda for the Regents’ February meeting,” said Lou Heldman, vice president of Strategic Communications at WSU.

During this meeting, the Regents would discuss the bonding capacity of the university. This would be essential to the approval because the bonds would temporarily pay for the parking structure until they were paid back through parking revenue.

The number of parking spaces available in the structure would be determined by construction and financing costs. According to the news release, the structure would be multilevel.

“Anyone who pays for a long-term garage permit,” Heldman said, “or who pays the short-term fee, will be able to park in the garage.”

The permit necessary to park in the parking garage would likely be separate from the student parking permits and faculty parking permits.

“None of that has been decided,” Heldman said. “[Parking garages] offer a completely different kind of parking. Generally you pay more to park in a garage than in a surface lot.”

As of Wednesday afternoon, no permit fee estimates have been released.

“I would like to actually have [a] spot to park on campus,” sophomore student Molly Flavin said. “I do not have a parking permit, and very rarely do I ever get one.”

Alanna Do, a freshman studying health professions, shares Flavin’s sentiment.

“I feel like it will be good for all the other neighborhoods,” Do said. “So people who live there have their own space so that no one else is on their property … It would be, I guess, kind of beneficial as long as the permits would be cheaper per year.”

Not everyone is thrilled to hear about the possibility of a parking garage in this location, however. The garage would, if approved, be replacing a parking lot designated for faculty.

“I have mixed thoughts,” said Lisa Parcell, graduate coordinator for the Elliott School of Communication. “I am concerned that we have a number of faculty that are increasingly asked to walk farther and farther away who may not be able to do that physically.”

Planning and construction for the parking structure will take about 18 months to complete if the request is approved. This would place the opening of the garage to no earlier than the fall 2017.

“I hope,” Parcell said, “they take into account the needs of faculty and staff, as well as students.”