Projects to cut parking spaces

Upcoming construction projects at Northern Kentucky University will cause two parking lots near the Albright Health Center to go offline later this semester, resulting in a loss of 562 of the 6,419 parking spaces on campus. New tennis courts will occupy a portion of lot G, which will temporarily shut down in mid-September. The construction is estimated to take 60 days, and when the lot re-opens, 271 of its spaces will be lost. Lot A, which hosts 291 spaces, is expected to permanently close in mid-November, when construction on a $34 million student union will begin. “There’s still more than enough parking,” Assistant Vice President for Facilities Management Larry Blake said. Vice President for Administration and Finance Ken Ramey said the 682 spaces that are available in the Kenton Drive parking garage account for the 562 spaces that will be lost this semester. “We built the garage in anticipation of lot A coming offline,” Ramey said. The garage, which originally opened in September 2004, was mostly empty last year, according to Blake. “When we opened it up, we didn’t need that many additional spaces,” Blake said, “so most people would park where they had been parking as long as that space was available.” Ramey said he thinks people will start using the garage much more this semester, especially after the closure of the 562 spaces. While drivers must pay to use the University Drive parking garage, the Kenton Drive garage will continue to be free of charge. “We realize that we’re taking lot A offline,” Ramey said, “so we didn’t feel it would warrant a double whammy to charge for the parking garage at the same time.” Ramey said he doesn’t expect the garage to cost money until the student union is built. The student union is tentatively scheduled to be completed in fall 2007. In addition to utilizing the garage, university officials plan to make up for the upcoming loss in parking spaces by adding 150 spaces to lot K, which currently hosts NKU’s tennis courts. The courts will be demolished and replaced with the spaces after the new courts are built in lot G. “You’ll actually get better parking (in lot K) than you would have in lot G,” Ramey said. To make as much use of the parking lots as possible, lot N was re-striped during the summer for a net gain of 15 spaces. Ramey said parking continues to be problematic for some students at the beginning of the semester because space turnover is lower now than it is the rest of the year. He said this is because students stay on campus longer early in the semester. While parking can be chaotic at times, Ramey said that it is not because of a lack of parking spaces on campus. “There’s ample space here,” he said.