An artist’s depiction of the planned McNeese State University parking garage.
Last Modified: Monday, July 02, 2012 8:56 PM
Parking at McNeese State University is getting an upgrade.
Construction on the new $12 million parking garage began in early June and is expected to be completed in late February or early March 2013.
The three-story parking garage will hold 880 vehicles.
The garage will be equipped with the latest technology — all LED lighting and a top-of-the-line security system.
“We will have a large installation of cameras, about 100 of them. They will be in the elevators, stairwells and all around the garage,” said Richard Rhoden, McNeese director of facilities and plant operations. “They will be HD cameras in color and they will be monitored and recorded at the campus police station.”
Each level of the parking garage will be equipped with a digital counter that will tell students how many parking spots are still available.
“It’s keeping students from aimlessly trolling around the parking garage looking for a space,” Rhoden said.
Rhoden said the university also hopes to get an app for smartphones that will allow students to see how many spaces are available before they get to campus.
The new structure will have five entrances and exits, none of which will lead directly onto Common Street. They will all lead into on-campus streets.
“With the large volume of vehicles, we need to be able to control that flow as best as possible,” Rhoden said.
The garage will have an emergency call station on every level and an emergency broadcast system will be installed.
The construction has caused some inconveniences for summer students and faculty because it has caused certain on-campus streets to be blocked off and some student parking closed.
Vernon Drive is closed indefinitely, and Vermillion Street may also have to be closed during construction.
Rhoden said the inconveniences are as minor as possible and only about 200 student vehicles are displaced.
He said there is plenty of parking in a freshman parking lot and in an off-campus parking lot owned by the school that was the site of Charles Cinema.
Students voted during the Spring 2011 semester to add a $75 fee per student per semester in order to pay for the parking garage.
“I think it passed by a 70-to-30 vote. It passed by a good margin,” Rhoden said.
The parking garage is not the only construction project on campus — there is over $50 million worth of renovations planned. Included are the complete renovation of Kaufman Hall, the second phase of renovations to the band hall, complete rebuilding of Burton Dormitory and complete renovations of Frazar Memorial Library, Frasch Annex, Chozen Hall and Collette Hall.
Rhoden said school officials want to tear down Pinehaven, the unoccupied residence hall for married couples, and make improvements to Contraband Bayou.
McNeese will also undertake the first phase of Americans with Disabilities Act improvements and will make improvements to all campus elevators.
John McNeese Park should be ready in two to three weeks, according to Rhoden. The school installed a statue of John McNeese three years ago and has been working to make the surrounding park area more “user-friendly.”
Candace Townsend, a McNeese spokeswoman, said all of the money used for these projects is separate from the money given by the state for day-to-day operations and tuition money.
“This money is coming from a variety of different funding sources. For example, Burton Dormitory is being paid for by FEMA because of Hurricane Rita and the parking garage is by student fees,” Townsend said. “Student tuition money is not going toward any of these construction projects.”
Posted By: Jesse Dupre On: 5/1/2013
The students who voted voted via club senators in one of the various student government meetings; they represent the student body opinion in most of these circumstances.
Posted By: M Gillispie On: 8/21/2012
I didn't get to vote either, but I just started back (as a senior) in the summer. I am wondering if it was stated in this vote that not only was about 1/4 of the jr/sr parking being taken away as construction started, but that fr/sph would be allowed to consolidate into an already severely reduced parking area. The student body president states it is not a parking problem, but a walking problem. That, to me, tells me these meetings are useless, they are just appeasing us by having these meetings and they are pointless. As a lower classman, I had to walk just as far. None of us are getting to use the garage we are already paying for, so why consolidate until it is complete. It is disruptive to everyone, even the underclassmen who are fighting just as hard for a parking space. And why not, they are now allowed to. No offense to lower classmen, but upper classmen's dues have been paid. We walked. So Mr. Student Body Pres. ...where do you park?
Posted By: D. Moseley On: 8/9/2012
Title: I didn't get to vote
I am a student at McNeese (since 2007) and I sure don't remember getting to vote for the parking garage or the fee they are charging. I think someone is lying!!
Posted By: J. Bosette On: 7/2/2012
Title: Are You Kidding?
The "students" voted on the parking garage? That's very odd since I've yet to find one student who voted in favor. Addtionally, given that the students, as has been stated, are the ones paying for this project; I presume there will be no faculty or other adminstrative personnel using this garage, right?
And one more thing, if there have been so many cuts in educational programs for McNeese, then why all of the renovations; $50 million you've stated? Are there prjections that good ole "Ryan Street High School" is going to make a come back? Right...........................................................