More than 800 parking spaces will be added to the University of Mississippi campus by August 2014 in the form of a new parking garage, with additional plans for developing the university’s parking infrastructure also underway.
The university and the athletics department combined forces in the new Forward Together campaign to assemble the plans to erect the parking structure while still keeping the aesthetics of the building similar to those of the whole campus.
The added parking will be located on what is now the top football practice field closest to the Rebel Shop.
A plan for more parking came as a need for more fan visitor spaces with the new basketball arena located behind the Turner Center set to be completed for the fall season of 2015. The structure will be connected to the parking garage and will also have an accessible food court open Monday-Friday.
“In 2011 we developed the Forward Together campaign in which the new arena was to take up some parking spaces on campus,” said Stephen Ponder, senior executive associate athletics director for external relations. “Because of this we had a demand to provide more parking to compensate for those lost spaces. That is how we came up with the need for a parking infrastructure.”
The garage will be gated and only students and faculty with permits will be allowed entry. Prices for these parking permits have not been established but will be higher than those of commuter parking passes to compensate for the structure’s cost.
“The prices will not be as much as if we were just building the parking garage,” said Parking and Transportation Director Issac Astill. “Because we are doing this in conjunction with athletics they will contribute to the cost of construction through their game day operations and that will decrease the cost.”
The Department of Parking and Transportation wants students to be aware that parking will decrease during the spring semester in order to finish construction on the parking garage. For this strain the university has built another parking lot located behind the indoor football practice field and students are also encouraged to utilize O.U.T. buses during this time.
“These spaces will be a prime location next to the food courts,” Astill said. “O.U.T. bus shuttles will also be located outside the parking garage to take people across campus to their locations.”
This parking garage is just one of four that will be built on campus by 2020. The university has developed the UM 2020 Master Plan in which the university will undergo a huge makeover. More residence halls will be added, in addition to more green space and ample parking.
“This is a work in progress for the university,” Astill said. “The arena parking garage is starting this fall and there is already discussion of where another is to be located and parking is just one aspect of this change.”