MTSU students should find parking a bit easier for fall semester following this week’s opening of two new parking garages.
Built by Messer Construction, the $23.5 million garages were paid for with student fees instituted a few years ago. They will give students convenient parking from the edge of campus and direct pedestrian access to the core of campus. Each four-deck garage will have approximately 490 spaces, which students can access by using their student ID cards at the gated entrances and exits.
The public is invited to the grand opening ceremony, which begins at 11 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 8, at the new garage adjacent to the Health, Wellness and Recreation Center on the east side of campus. The event will include light refreshments as well as remarks by MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee. At noon, Student Government Association President James Lee will officially open the garages by being the first student to drive his vehicle into one of the structures.
“With many of our students commuting to campus for classes, these garages provide additional options to help them park efficiently,” McPhee said. “I applaud our students for making an investment that will benefit our campus for many years to come.”
The garage Lee will christen is connected to the new Student Services and Admissions Center still under construction and will be known as the MTSU Boulevard Garage. This garage includes a walking bridge that will run through the new Student Services building and across Blue Raider Drive, eventually connecting to the second floor of the Student Union.
“I’m really excited because as a student I’ve seen the construction process from the beginning,” said Lee, a senior finance major from Clarksville, Tenn. “I think it’s going to alleviate a lot of the issues of parking on campus. It’s awesome that we can see the results of our student fees pay off in this way.”
The other garage is located on the north side of campus next to the Holmes Building on Champion Way and will be known as the Champion Way Garage. While road construction along Champion and Lightning Way over the next several months may limit access to this garage, the goal is for one of the entrances to be open at all times.
“This will improve parking greatly for the students,” said Ron Malone, assistant vice president for events and transportation. “We’re excited to provide almost 1,000 additional spaces to the core of campus.”
For security, Malone noted the open design of the four-deck structures for improved visibility, including stairwells covered by a heavy wire mesh material rather than solid walls. The garages also feature enhanced lighting that brightens and dims based on motion, and security cameras will monitor the garages’ entries and exits. Both garages are equipped with elevators.
Faculty, staff and visitors will also be able to access the garages if they are willing to pay, Malone said. Non-students can access the garages through an automated ticket system that will cost $10 a day for anyone parking for longer than 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, a surface lot east of the new Student Services and Admissions Center will open later this fall, providing an additional 670-plus parking spaces for students.
— Jimmy Hart (email@example.com)