After almost 14 years at the East Main Street location, MTSU’s Parking Services will move into a new building at 205 City View Drive and open for business on Monday, Jan. 4. Transportation Services will join them in the new building.
The relocation initially stemmed from the growth of the university’s shuttle bus fleet.
“Currently we park them (buses) over at the Facilities Services area,” said Ron Malone, assistant vice president of Events and Transportation Services. “We utilize their repair bays anytime we have repairs that need to be made on the buses” and park the buses at the Motor Pool lot, he said.
“We operate somewhere in the neighborhood of 15 to 16 shuttle buses on campus,” he continued. “Our operation has gotten so big — of course at the Motor Pool area they still have to take care of all the cars and things on campus — that we were jostling for time in the repair bays, and we needed to have the buses repaired and back out on the road as quickly as possible, but we couldn’t get into the repair bays.”
The department even tried outsourcing the repairs, but that still did not return buses to the road fast enough, Malone explained.
“We reached a point where we had enough money to move forward with (building our own) maintenance bays,” Malone said.
Though Parking and Transportation Services are part of the same department, they have been physically separated — located across campus from one another — for the last several years. As the new maintenance bay project developed, Malone and others realized the opportunity for reuniting parking and transportation under one roof.
“As we started with the project, one of the things that became very obvious is we needed to bring both groups together,” Malone said. “It’s very hard to manage folks when they’re separated like that. Plus, it was becoming a bit of a challenge for the folks over at Motor Pool to find space for all of our buses in their lot. That’s why we began looking at the possibility of merging the two.”
Parking Services had the funds to undertake the expanded project, and the university broke ground on the new building in December 2019.
“I am so excited to have our whole department back under one roof,” said Tracy Read, director of Parking and Transportation Services. “It will also be nice to have our own space to work on the shuttle buses.”
The new building “will help us considerably because we will be in a modern facility,” Malone said. “We are putting in three maintenance bays in the building (where) we’ll be able to perform all of the services and maintenance that needs to take place on our shuttle buses. Facilities Services gets their space back, (and) it puts transportation and parking services after all these years (physically) together, so they can operate as one machine.”
The staff will be fully relocated in time for the first day of the spring semester. MTSU offices reopen Monday, Jan. 4, following the holiday break. Classes for spring begin Monday, Jan. 25.
“We will be ready and prepared to assist students with decals and any other parking questions and transportation questions that they might have on Jan. 4 at 8 a.m.,” Malone said. Parking Services’ hours of operation will remain the same.
Malone advised that the old building closes on Monday, Dec. 21, and services will not be physically available through Dec. 23 and over the holiday break when campus is closed. If someone needs assistance before the holiday break, Parking Services help will still be available online and by phone.
A positive domino effect
The move is not only beneficial for Parking and Transportation Services, Malone said. “It does a lot of different things that helps the campus overall.”
It frees up the East Main building parking lot for more student parking, it frees up parking space at the Motor Pool lot and it frees up space in the old parking services building for the Department of Recording Industry to use, Malone said.
“(Some) recording studios needed to be relocated, and they will be able to move into that location (on East Main). They won’t have to do without their recording studios,” he explained.
Malone and the department look forward to serving the campus community in the modern and welcoming new facility, he said.
“Students, faculty and staff are going to find a receptive environment with good people there waiting to help them out,” Malone said.
The department will also continue making the majority of services available online, Malone explained.
“Everything that we have been doing over the last several years has been to try and utilize technology to help eliminate the need for individuals to have to come to the Parking Services office, and we will continue to do those things,” he said.
Students, faculty and staff only need to physically visit the building to purchase their first parking decal. After that, renewal can be completed online. Visitors can purchase a parking pass online and print out the decal from home, Malone said.
For more information on Parking and Transportation Services, visit the website.
— Stephanie Barrette (Stephanie.Barrette@mtsu.edu)