Manchester University
Oak Leaves

March 31, 2017

Mall Parking Log

Design plan for upcoming parking structure on the Mall.
Photo by Tyler Roebuck

Manchester Paves Paradise
Administrators Reveal Plan for Parking Lot in Mall

Destinee Boutwell

Have you ever left campus on a Sunday night to get dinner with friends and returned to find no parking available? Or perhaps you have roamed the parking lots, desperately looking for an open spot to park your car in before your class starts in ten minutes? Maybe you have come to  Homecoming or Commencement and had to park on the lawn in front of Tall Oaks because Manchester has no overflow parking?
Worry no more. Manchester University recently unveiled a new plan that will solve most of the parking problems on campus. This summer, construction will begin on a new four-story parking garage that will be located in the center of the Mall.
The Manchester Parking Garage Committee, composed of students, faculty and staff who had accumulated the most parking tickets in the course of a year, debated where the parking garage should be located on campus. Some argued that the Rhiney Bowl would be the best place for it, but others argued that, because the Rhiney Bowl is a drainage ditch, heavy rains could flood the garage.
The second idea was the grassy area in front of Tall Oaks, but this location was not ideal because it is too far from campus and handicap parking cannot be provided. 
The Committee finally agreed that the parking garage was to be placed in the center of the Mall because it is close to the center of the campus and there is access from Wayne Street and East Street (give or take a couple of buildings).
Many people will mourn the loss of the beautiful green grass on which they play Frisbee, read a good book, or run beside. However, Jonathan Watson, English professor and committee member who has racked up 82 tickets already, sees a silver lining. “English majors were never able to concentrate while reading their novels outside,” he said. “I’m much happier now that students are confined to the library or their rooms. I want to discourage the perils of outdoor reading—the allure of nature, the distracting friendships, the possibility of getting hit with a Frisbee.”

So far it seems that the idea of a parking garage is a popular one. “I can never find a good spot on campus,” said sophomore Garrett Hartman. “Sometimes I wish I could park on top of other people’s cars. I freaking love the idea of a parking garage on campus because, if someone parks where I was, I can literally park on top of their car.” 

The officers in the Campus Security Office are also in favor of the parking garage. “It’s a great idea to build in the Mall,” said Officer Plummer, “because there is a ton of room due to wasted space.”
Every year, the Security Office becomes a buzz of activity when there are large events on campus. As visitors come from all over the United States, Manchester just doesn't have the room to accommodate their vehicles. “A nice four story garage will look amazing in that location, and it will certainly help during events such as Commencement and Homecoming,” Officer Spann said. 
In the winter, students worry about their cars becoming damaged in severe snow, hail and ice. “I think that the parking garage would help the campus grow, and students would feel safe by parking inside out of the weather,” Officer Arrowood said.
The garage will have four floors. During the academic year, the first floor and second floor of the garage will be reserved for visitors, commuter students and employees only. The third and fourth floor will be reserved for resident parking. If an event is predicted to have a large attendance, then the entire garage will be opened to visitors.
Daily parking will cost $10, according to Mike Leckrone, director of Financial Services—Planning and Budget—and committee member, with 92 accumulated tickets this year. “We needed to close a $10 million budget gap due to the increased discount (90%) in fiscal year 2017–2018,” he said.
In addition, Leckrone says that the garage will bring a certain sophistication to MU. “It will definitely give the campus the ‘big city’ feel when we walk prospective students across campus,” he said. “We plan on pumping specific noise through the sound system, like cars honking and sirens.”