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Volume 70, Issue 7, Tuesday, August 31, 2004


Garage fees, practicality questioned

'In the end, I think it will be a good thing,' student says

By Matt Bean
News Reporter

UH students said they are concerned about the financial impact of a proposed $25.8 million parking garage in part of Parking Lot 1A.

"If it's going to raise costs, especially with another cut in government spending, a lot of people are going to be discouraged by it," electrical power technology senior Salil Cherian said.

Part of the 1,200-vehicle garage will be financed by an increase in parking rates, which are scheduled to rise 4 percent each year. A student garage permit is expected to cost $200 a year; a student annual parking permit will likely cost $122 by the time the garage opens in early 2006.

"$25 million for a garage is a bit too much, especially when you are already increasing the fees each semester," Manish Kapoor, a graduate computer science major, said.

Other students expressed skepticism about the usefulness of the structure.

"People will still complain about parking problems," Taylor Jeude, a computer science sophomore, said. "The only real way to fix the problem is to build several garages around campus, and I certainly don't want to see the bill for that."

The proposed garage would displace about 550 parking spaces in the north end of Lot 1A. Although 800 new spaces were added throughout the campus this summer to compensate, some students wondered whether the location is the best choice.

"Since the garage would be on one corner of the campus, parking will still be problematic for the other side," Jeude said.

Officials have said they are already in the planning stages for a second garage at the corner of Scott Street and Holman Avenue on the west side of campus, the location originally considered for the first parking garage.

The garage was moved to Lot 1A after student leaders expressed worry that students would find Scott and Holman too far from the center of the campus.

Nevertheless, communication senior Jason Ugorji questioned the wisdom of closing any parking lot.

"It's hard enough to find parking. Where are those 500 people going to go?" Ugorji said. "I think shutting down (Lot 1A) isn't the smartest thing."

Despite their concerns, students said they were optimistic about the long-term benefits of a parking garage.

"I think a parking garage could solve our long-term problem," Jeude said.

Cherian agreed: "In the end, I think it will be a good thing."

The garage proposal still needs approval from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and the state Bond Review Board. If approved, construction could begin in January.

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