Auburn University Board of Trustees approves purchase of parking deck

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Auburn University's purchase of a six-story parking deck on West Magnolia Avenue will transform parking for students, faculty and staff on the west side of campus.

At its meeting on Feb. 5 at Auburn University at Montgomery, the Auburn University Board of Trustees approved the purchase of the North Park parking facility at 712 W. Magnolia Ave.

Dan King, the associate vice president for Facilities Management, said students who currently park in the West Village Parking Lot would be able to use the parking deck instead, which houses 920 spaces.

Those students who currently use the lot have to move their vehicles every Friday before a home football game. King said if these students were able to utilize the parking deck instead, their vehicles would no longer be affected by gameday parking.

Moving student parking from the lot to the deck would free up 635 spaces in the West Village lot, which then could be used for commuter student parking and special events at Auburn Arena. King said that the lot space could also be used for future development for the west side of campus as well.

Don Andrae, manager of Parking Services, said the North Park purchase will allow the university to rezone much of the parking in this area to better serve students, faculty and staff.

"We are so glad to have this added to the parking inventory at Auburn University and look forward to implementing these new parking zones next fall," he said.

King noted that the university plans to increase lighting between the Village residence halls and the parking deck, as well as improve lighting and security in the deck itself before students start using it. The North Park facility was built in 2010.

In other matters, the board approved a few renovation projects for The Hotel at Auburn University and Dixon Conference Center. A $1.2 million project scheduled for this summer includes making improvements to the front driveway and adding a porte-cochere – a covered area for vehicles to pass through – at the hotel's front entrance.

In his presentation before the board, King said the projects are key elements for the hotel to be considered for the Four Diamond rating from AAA. According to AAA, less than six percent of the nearly 28,000 hotels approved by AAA make the Four Diamond rating. The hotel currently has a Three Diamond rating from AAA, a distinction it has had nearly every year since 2002.

Hans van der Reijden, managing director of hotel operations and educational initiatives, said the porte-cochere will be a modern steel and glass structure to allow as much light as possible into the lobby. The design will also allow the rooms on the second floor of the hotel to have unobstructed views of campus.

Another project key to helping improve the hotel's rating calls for renovations to spaces in the Dixon Conference Center, including the Governor's Room, Board Room, foyer and restrooms. The board approved using Birchfield Penuel & Associates LLC of Birmingham as project architects. Construction is expected this summer.

Additional items receiving board approval were:

  • A project to construct two dressing rooms and a storage building at the Band Practice Complex, adjacent to the West Campus Parking Lot off of Hemlock Drive. Project also calls for replacing existing grass field with artificial turf. College of Liberal Arts and university general funds will cover the $3 million budget.
  • A project to relocate the Poultry Research Farm Unit from Auburn Research Park to the North Auburn Campus. College of Agriculture reserve and gift funds will finance the $1.3 million project. To learn more, read this story.
  • A $2 million increase to the $33 million budget for the Mell Classroom Building project. Construction is currently underway.
  • A project to expand the public safety building on West Magnolia Avenue.
  • The initiation of a lease to install a telecommunications tower on the North Auburn Campus.
  • A request to sell the Railroad Warehouse facility and property, 227 N. College St. The 6,708- square-foot, one-story storage facility is no longer useful to the university. It was originally purchased in 1948. Proceeds from the sale will be combined with Facilities Management reserve funds to build a new larger warehouse at the university's property near the airport.
  • Setting tuition rate for undergraduate online degree programs.
  • Adding a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Design Studies, a Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology and a Master of Social Work.
  • A schedule for 2016-17 board meeting dates as Sept. 16, Nov.18, Feb. 3, April 7 and June 9.

For the campus of Auburn University Montgomery, the board approved:

  • A housing rental rate for fall 2016 and fall 2017 to cover operational and maintenance costs associated with the campus's new residence hall.
  • Adding a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art with options in Studio Art and Graphic Design, as well as a Master of Science in Health Informatics and Leadership.

Auburn University is a nationally ranked land grant institution recognized for its commitment to world-class scholarship, interdisciplinary research with an elite, top-tier Carnegie R1 classification, life-changing outreach with Carnegie’s Community Engagement designation and an undergraduate education experience second to none. Auburn is home to more than 30,000 students, and its faculty and research partners collaborate to develop and deliver meaningful scholarship, science and technology-based advancements that meet pressing regional, national and global needs. Auburn’s commitment to active student engagement, professional success and public/private partnership drives a growing reputation for outreach and extension that delivers broad economic, health and societal impact.