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Thursday, April 18, 2024

Hundreds of carpoolers will be displaced in August when a new building breaks ground in the parking lot east of Criser Hall.

UF's Parking and Transportation Committee met Tuesday to discuss possible alternatives for the 118 parking spaces that will be lost when Hough Hall, a graduate studies building for the school of business, is completed.

"You don't just lose a parking lot without it impacting someone," said Robert Miller, a member of the committee who served as chairperson at Tuesday's meeting. "We will have to weigh the pros and cons with the vice president."

The committee voted 5-1 in favor of the proposal to transfer carpool spots from east of Criser Hall to the parking areas in front of Fletcher and Sledd halls, a location currently reserved for students. It will submit the plan to Ed Poppel, UF's vice president of business affairs.

Construction for the 59,000-square-foot building will begin in August.

William R. Hough Hall is anticipated to be completed in winter 2009 and will be used as of spring 2010, said Howie Ferguson, the project manager for the building.

The facility will serve to ease some overcrowding in the business school and attract future students.

"This is a recruiting tool," Fergurson said. "UF is way behind in that category."

Sonia Hodges, who works at Student Financial Services in Peabody Hall, said the new building's infringement on parking would create an inconvenience for her. Hodges bought a carpool decal about a year ago to park next to her building.

In the past, she had an Orange decal for faculty and staff parking, but she often found herself with no available spots.

Under the parking proposal, zones designated for faculty and staff decals in Hough's location will also be reduced, but there will more spots added at other locations on campus to compensate, said Scott Fox, director of UF's Transportation and Parking Services.

Fox added that a new parking garage is scheduled to open on Gale Lemerand Drive in a little over a year. Parking for people with Orange, Red 3 and Red 1 parking decals will be rearranged in the meantime.

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Red 1 and Red 3 parking decals are sold to students who live on campus or in fraternities or sororities. Red 1 is designated for students who have completed at least 50 credit hours, while Red 3 decals are sold to students with 49 credit hours or less.

Miller proposed moving student parking to the areas surrounding the Southwest Recreation Center temporarily because he said many students do not drive their cars often during the week, and proximity to their residences wouldn't be an issue. The committee will also review a proposal to rearrange parking to make way for a new chemistry building, which is planned to be built in the parking lot next to Keene-Flint Hall.

"The reality is over time we will see less and less parking in that area," Miller said. "We can build on the outskirts, but core academics buildings will be on campus."

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