Diddle lot to close

Josh Buckman

Western administrators are hoping to provide more parking for students in the future. But it won’t come without some sacrifice now.

The Diddle lot might close later next month if construction on a new parking structure between Smith Stadium and Diddle Arena begins soon.

Ed West, director of planning, design and construction, said work on the new parking facility is not expected to begin until after Labor Day, Sept. 6.

A more specific schedule should be released later this week, said Jennifer Tougas, the director of parking and transportation.

Facilities management officials plan for the structure to be completed by August 2005.

The new structure will hold about 825 parking spaces, Tougas said.

Diddle lot currently holds about 400 spaces, meaning the new lot will add about 425 parking spaces.

Students will have some other parking options to make up for the loss of spots in the Diddle lot.

A new lot on Chestnut Street was recently created for zone “C” permit holders, according to a campus e-mail sent by Campus Police Capt. Mike Wallace on Monday.

“The biggest effect of the lot closing will be that 900 students will have to go elsewhere,” Tougas said.

She said about 900 students park in the Diddle lot throughout the day.

Scottsville junior Trey Harper commutes from home to school and uses the Diddle lot whenever possible.

“I’m sure it’s going to bring a lot more parking to students eventually once it gets done,” he said. “I guess it’s a good idea. It’s one of those long-term things where you’ve got to deal with the short-term effect.”

West said there will be differences between the new brick structure and the old parking facility.

“There’s more distance between floors, which helps make it feel bigger and more secure,” West said.

The lowest construction bid came in around $8.3 million. An additional $1.7 million will be spent on other costs associated with building a parking structure.

Western will pay for the project using $10 million in agency bonds, West said.

Reach Josh Buckman at [email protected]