Campus Construction Increases Parking Woes

A three year construction plan is causing problems for students and faculty who are competing for less and less parking spaces.

A three year construction plan is causing problems for students and faculty who are competing for less and less parking spaces.

No issue has plagued Santa Ana College like parking. And it just got worse.

An empty lot on the corner of 17th and Bristol Streets, purchased by the district in 2013 for $5 million, is still vacant as the district and city officials disagree over its use. It was scheduled to open during fall 2014 semester.

“There are discussions with the city about how to develop the property.

Of course the city wants retail there, the district wants parking,” Santa Ana College President Erlinda Martinez said. “My position is, let’s keep having the discussions, but let students park there first because they need it.”

The lot was purchased for faculty use.

In 2014 the district delayed construction of the lot to accommodate workers and equipment during SAC’s ongoing central plant project, which is tearing up parking lots and walkways on campus.

The lot is empty even as the central plant construction is underway.

“The plans are in design and have been submitted to the City of Santa Ana and the Division of State Architect for plan review,” Vice Chancellor of Business Operations and Fiscal Services Peter Hardash said.
Construction is anticipated to start in winter 2016.

Lately there has been a 10 percent decrease in parking spaces. Of the 3,000 spaces available to the 19,000 full time students on campus, 298 are unavailable during the construction, all on the south side of campus.

“It took me about 35 minutes. Actually I left early because I knew the parking lot was going to be closed,” SAC student Jonathan Guerrero said.

The central plant and site utilities replacement project will renovate the infrastructure on campus, replacing aging underground heating and cooling pipes to make the college more energy efficient. It is paid for by Measure Q funding, a $198 million voter-approved bond for improvements at SAC, including renovating Dunlap Hall, and a new STEM and health and sciences buildings.

“The project is anticipated to be in construction for two years, even with undertaking weekend work, night-time work as well as working during certain holidays,” Hardash said.

The largest and busiest lot on campus, lot 6 south of Dunlap Hall, shares faculty and student parking.

“I got lucky. I arrived at 9:30 a.m. and found parking right away. If I get here too late I probably would not have found parking if I were to come at 10 a.m.,” Mathematics Professor Krystal Meier said. “I know it is frustrating this semester but everybody has the same troubles. It would be nice if it could be more organized but they got to do what they got to do.”

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