Construction on a new seven-level, 186,200 square-foot parking structure is set to begin in the spring to meet the increased demand for parking on the University’s Medical Campus. The new 500-space parking structure will be built on Ann Street between Glen Avenue and Zina Pitcher Place just north of the Biomedical Science Research Building.

A majority of the 500 spaces will be for faculty, staff and other University employees. The structure will also have metered spaces designated for visitor parking. Like all parking structures on campus, the structure will not have any spaces reserved exclusively for students, Facilities and Operations spokeswoman Diane Brown said.

There has been a noted increase in need for parking near the medical campus due to the many programs and services offered to patients and students, and an anticipated higher demand for parking after the completion of the new research building, Brown said.

“It really is an ideal place,” she said. “It is reasonably convenient for the medical campus as well as Central Campus.”

The $13 million structure will be linked to the existing Catherine Street Parking Structure on both the ground and top levels.

The University hired the Kalmazoo-based Walker Parking Consultants, which specializes in designing parking structures, to draw the plans for the new structure. The firm worked with the Polshek Partnership — the designers of the BSRB — to ensure the parking structure would not conflict with the “less traditional exterior design” of the newly built BSRB, Brown said.

Although the University has not yet designated a contractor to build the structure, it estimates that the structure will be completed in the spring of 2006.

Another parking structure has been proposed for South Division Street. The proposal was presented to the University Board of Regents but has not yet been approved, Brown said.

Parking permit revenue is funding the project, Brown said. The price of one-year permits for University employees ranges from $60 for orange permits to $1,045 for gold permits, with the more expensive spaces located closer to central campus. Permit prices vary throughout the year, being most expensive in July and cheapest in June. There are around 2,000 permits available to junior, senior and graduate students ranging from $120 for the yellow permit to $60 for the orange permit, again depending on when they are purchased.

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