Parking remains a growing concern on the SE campus and with good reason. Enrollment numbers are up and it often seems more difficult for students to find a parking place near classroom buildings. Students living in the Residence Halls will soon have additional parking available in close proximity to these buildings. The new parking areas also bring a new venture known as “green spaces,” a campus beautification project. Director of the Physical Plant Eddie Harbin describes this as a plan to improve the parking lots, stating, “The tree plantings and green spaces add to the curb appeal and safety of students and staff.“
According to Harbin, maintaining the look of SE’s campus is definitely important, from a safety standpoint if nothing else. In addition to the more easily visible new lots going in at Fourth and Montgomery, more parking is being made available near the Bloomer Sullivan Gymnasium and near the Visual and Performing Arts Center. According to Harbin, these lots “were
designed by our Landscape Architect, Howard Fairbairn Site Design. They were bid as turn–key projects that include the parking areas, as well as lighting, landscaping and irrigation. “They are being constructed by C-3 Construction,” said Harbin.
Harbin added that the requirements of both the city and state, as well as ADA and safety requirements, have been considered and balanced with SE’s desires for the new parking areas. He said this is where the green spaces come in. The new parking areas will incorporate trees and other greenery to add to the aesthetic appeal of the lots. But these green spaces will also primarily be placed at the edges of the lots in an attempt to create some separation of vehicle traffic from that of bicycles and pedestrians. Thus, Harbin said, the green spaces will add to both the look of the areas and the safety factor. After the new parking lots have been completed, Harbin said SE plans to make improvements to existing lots. The Physical Plant will be treating each parking area according to its perceived needs. Considerations include lighting, restriping, safety, irrigation, seal coating, landscaping and ADA compliance. Harbin said that SE plans to seek grants to offset the cost of these measures. Dell McLain, chair of the art, communication and theatre department said, “a campus should be a reflection of its students. ” He said the improvement and addition of parking lots will not only address student concerns, but contribute to the appearance of SE as a whole.