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No one can miss the fences and heavy equipment that displaced the Bailey parking lot three weeks ago. But by November 2006, it will become a new multi-level parking structure, complete with 5 and half levels, 1100 parking spaces, and a clock tower with carillons.

Dr. Curt Groninga, vice president of administrative services, is overseeing the project. “This project is overdue and much needed,” he said as he pointed out the colorful rendering of the parking garage that rests on his office wall. “Parking impacts affects enrollment, and we’ve seen the demand for J.C. parking increase dramatically over the past few years.”

The 45-foot tall structure will feature 4 and a half floors above ground and one below. On the northwest corner will be a four-faced clock with backlit numbers and a carillon. Though the Walker Parking Associates and Bull, Stockwell, Allen designed the building, it was Dr. Groninga who proposed the 85-foot clock tower. “I knew this would be big building, and I wanted the clock tower to be a landmark, both to students and city residents,” he said.

The company Bull, Stockwell, Allen designed the 7th St. parking garage in downtown Santa Rosa.

The new garage will cause a net gain of 900 parking spaces. At a cost of $30

million, the SRJC found a bid that was consistent with the commercial rate for parking structures, which is about $27,000 per parking space. According to a report released in 2004 by the Victoria Transport Policy Institute, the average cost per space of parking structures built on the UCLA campus is $25,600. Dr. Groninga noted that the cost of concrete and steel has risen over the past few years.

The SRJC administration conceived the new parking garage over three years ago. Part of the appropriated funding in Measure A, which passed in 2002, was for this new structure. The administration was pushed to the brink when the neighboring high school turned several hundred SRJC parking spaces into new tennis courts.

At this point the excavation is just beginning. Construction workers have already dug the elevator foundation. However, the real work will be lowering the level of the entire lot. “Over the next 90 days, you will see a big hole in the ground,” Dr. Groninga said. “The structure itself won’t begin to appear until about the beginning of next year.”

In the meantime, the SRJC is running a full-time shuttle for students who want to park off campus. It will be operational until the holiday season begins on November 15. “Traditionally the need for the shuttle tapered off around then,” said Dr. Groninga. “However, because of the parking situation this year, we are looking into alternative sites during the holiday season.”

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