Campus to get new parking garage, potential new village

March 18, 2013

Samantha Morley
[email protected]

Campus grounds will soon be home to a new parking garage and potentially a new village.

The new parking garage will be at the northwest corner of the intersection of Austin Bluffs Parkway and Stanton Street, near the Recreation Center.

The garage will hold 1,227 stalls, compared to the 800 in the current garage. The top of the structure will have a playing field managed by the Rec Center. A fence will enclose the top floor.

The new parking garage is estimated to cost $23 million. Students who live in housing, use the Rec Center and commute will have access to the structure with a special permit. The permit is projected to be cheaper than the HUB permit.

“This is going to give another option. This is really going to open up a lot of student parking opportunities. We’ve heard nothing but good things about this,” said Susan Szpyrka, vice chancellor for administration and finance.

There are also plans in the works for a potential new residential village.

“We’re looking at adding a completely new residential village,” said Szpyrka. “It’s not going to be apartments. It’s going to be designed around the first and second year experience. It’ll be very similar to Summit Village.”

The rooms and suites will not have kitchens or living rooms.

The new village is projected to be built across the street from Alpine Village. The idea for the new rooms came from the influx of applications for on-campus residences.

The Summit Village expansion – resulting in the Eldora and Copper towers – is scheduled to be completed in the fall but does not meet the growing demand.

“Our demand is growing so high that we are already 19.8 [percent] up in applications for housing than we were last year,” Szpyrka said. The current growth rate would fill up all available beds by fall of 2015.

It takes about two years for a new plan to be proposed, funded and completed. “The reason we have to look at a brand new village is [because] Summit can’t expand anymore,” she said.

As it is, The Lodge is expanding to its maximum capacity to allow for the new Eldora and Copper residents.

The village will not have a name until the Board of Regents approves the project. “We don’t proceed on this until we have approval from the Board. We will be presenting this to the Board in April when they have their next meeting,” Szpyrka said.

The new village location is projected to hold 900 additional beds, with a new dining hall and kitchen constructed in the same area.

“We don’t need 900 to start. We only need about 510. Part of that is driven by the dining hall. The dining hall needs to feed 500 people to be economically viable,” she said.

The new village project is estimated to cost $74 million. Szpyrka and her associates are currently looking for architects for the project but will not decide on anyone until they have received Board approval.

In terms of which architect to choose, Szpyrka said that they are going to look at whoever can offer the best results for the school.

Szpyrka also noted the money for these projects does not come from student tuition. Bonds are sold for the construction of the projects.

The debt is then paid off via parking fees, which go solely toward parking-related bills and housing costs, which are also contained within housing-related expenses.

Szpyrka and other UCCS staff have had these plans and others in mind for several years.

“UCCS is a place that students want to be, and we can’t be turning the students away because we have nowhere for them to live,” she said.

“They’re really choosing to come here. They really want to be here. We do know that one reason students come here is because they very much enjoy this community and the setting and the beauty of the campus.”