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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

UF students might have more parking options by late 2018.

A new parking garage is being planned for Museum Road, across from the Reitz Union Welcome Center, said Fred Rowe, the project manager. The eight-level garage needs approval from UF’s Board of Trustees and the Board of Governors before it’s finalized, said UF spokeswoman Janine Sikes.

“Everything’s contingent on approval by the Board of Trustees,” she said. The trustees will meet Friday to discuss the garage, while the Board of Governors will meet in January at the earliest.

If approved, construction on the garage would begin by May, Rowe said. It would add about 1,500 spaces and have student, faculty and staff parking. Construction would take about 18 months.

The garage would cost a maximum of $37.2 million, although the final cost would be determined after the boards’ approval, Sikes said. It would be paid for through parking fees and decal sales.

“That’s a maximum,” she said. “That doesn’t mean that the garage will cost that much.”

For UF students like Logan Abbott, 21, additional parking at the Reitz would make attending meetings and studying in the building easier.

“If you can’t get here, it’s kind of a wasted space,” the international studies and French senior said.

Abbott said she attends meetings in the student union at least once a week. Because she lives in Murphree Hall, her car is always parked on campus, but driving to the Reitz before restrictions are lifted is difficult.

“It’s basically impossible,” she said. “It’s really difficult to get in and out.”

Krystie Nguyen, the director of UF’s Asian Pacific Islander American Affairs, located in the Reitz, said it’s difficult for her to find parking during the day.

Although Nguyen said she usually gets to campus early enough to find a spot, she knows not to drive somewhere and attempt to return in the middle of the day. She’s learned this after spending about an hour looking for parking around 11 a.m., she said.

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Zach Nimmons, a UF statistics sophomore, spent up to $15 a week to leave his car in the Retiz parking garage for work during Summer, he said. He’s worked at the Reitz Union Hotel reception desk for more than a year.

“If it’s during the day, I do have to pay for parking if I can find a spot,” the 20-year-old said, adding that spaces in the garage are hard to find if an event is happening in the building.

He hopes the Board of Trustees approves the project.

“It’s basically impossible to find a spot in that garage,” he said. “Another garage would be appreciated.”

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