The Daily Gamecock

Greek parking garage no more: University plans potential Greek Village surface parking lot

The university is no longer planning to build a parking garage for Greek Village and is now looking to construct a
surface parking lot with about 300 spots for Greek students. 

Student Body President Luke Rankin said the original garage plan would give Greek students about 900 to 1,000 new parking spaces in 33,000 square feet of space. 

The newly planned parking lot will be funded by a Greek Village Student Fee paid each semester by students involved in fraternities and sororities that have a house in Greek Village. In the 2016-17 academic year, students paid $125 per semester, which increased to $250 in the fall of 2017 and increased again in the fall of 2018 to $375 per semester. 

University spokesman Jeff Stensland said in an email that the plan would address the needs of Greek members who must travel to their houses for meals and scheduled meetings.

“As we continue to develop more robust transportation options, we hope to continue to make students less reliant on their personal vehicles to navigate campus," Stensland said in an email.

The board of trustees’ buildings and grounds committee is also considering moving the 500 spaces in commuter parking to a different location and opening up that lot to Greek students, which would increase the number of potential new parking spaces to 800. If the commuter lot is moved, the creation of another lot for commuter students would be funded by the Greek Village Student Fee. 

“We began to have concerns about the reality that fewer students are bringing cars, there's a lot of other actions going into play, potentially, in this area with other parking garages, so we thought it was prudent to drop that, take another look at it,” university architect Derek Gruner said. “What we’re recommending today is we pursue a surface parking lot on the two-and-a-half acres.”

The 300 new spaces would be located on the 700 Devine block next to the commuter parking across from Greek Village, and students would be able to access Greek Village by walking under Blossom Street bridge, Gruner said. 

 “A $375 fee per student per semester is very high for what was a garage with 900 to a 1,000 spots and 33,000 square feet of meeting space to, now, a lot with 300 parking spots,” Rankin said.

The two buildings on the 700 Devine block are occupied by the School of Visual Art and Design and theater students. These occupants would be relocated to 707 Catawba St., which is currently a warehouse. Gruner said the warehouse would be renovated by the university to house these students, a roughly $1 million renovation paid for by the Greek Village Student Fee. 

“Very exciting day, that we had 300 spots approved, but definitely, this is a temporary solution,” Rankin said. “That's big and exciting news, but it’s not what the final product should be.”

The board of trustees’ buildings and grounds committee approved the plan and it will now look for approval from the full board next month.