Nfld. & Labrador

Parking lot at MUN to be replaced by new science building

The parking situation at Memorial University in St. John's has often been a contentious issue, and parking is about to get a whole lot worse when a new building replaces a parking area.

Memorial University says spaces will be made up for later

Memorial University's new core science building in St. John's will be built on the site of parking lots 16 and 16A, in between Clinch Crescent and the University Centre. (Geoff Bartlett/CBC)

Students and staff at Memorial University know that parking has often been a contentious issue on the St. John's campus, but the tight parking situation is about to get worse with a new building replacing spaces.

Construction of MUN's new science building is set to begin this week and will be built between Clinch Crescent and the University Centre — on the site formally designated as parking lots 16 and 16A.

Dave Sorenson, MUN's acting associate director of communications, said the university is confident in the decision to put the building in that location.

"The new building is far more important than the parking spaces," he told the St. John's Morning Show.

"That said, we have a plan in place to replace the spots."

There will be about 430 parking spaces lost with the new science building going. However, Sorenson said the spots lost will be added to different areas around campus.

"Right now our folks at facilities management have identified about 265 potential spots and construction will begin shortly on those," he said.

"They're primarily on the south campus near Elizabeth Avenue adjacent to lots that are currently in place."

Parking always problematic at MUN

Sorenson said the university realizes how big of a challenge parking is on campus and there are steps being taken to alleviate frustrations as much as possible.

"We have a daytime population of about 19,000 during the winter and fall semesters and there's about 4,000 parking spaces, so there's always a challenge," he said.

"We have a parking and transit solutions committee, in partnership with MUNSU and the other student unions trying to find solutions to get people to campus without vehicles."

The current science building was constructed in the 1960s and has hardly been updated since then.

When the new science building was in the early planning stages, Sorenson said many people suggested installing a parking garage underneath the building.

However, he said given the nature of the equipment and operations that will be held in the building, it wasn't feasible.

"It is a science building and most of the lab equipment has to be on the ground floor because of it's weight, so that kind of precludes parking underneath the building," he said.

According to Sorenson, anyone who previously had MUN parking permits for lots 16 and 16A can now park in the new parking garage at no extra cost, adding there will be no parking lottery this summer as they work on the new building.

"We're asking people to be patient as we get through this transition season," he said.

"Parking is always a challenge and it will continue to be such."

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