UNA begins addressing parking woes by tearing down apartments

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FLORENCE, Ala. (WHNT) – The University of North Alabama has taken the first step in dealing with the parking woes facing their students.

With more than 7,000 students now and just fewer than 3,000 parking places, the school decided it’s time to make some improvements.

They are some of the most valued pieces of property currently on the University of North Alabama Campus. Parking spaces may not be very attractive, but they are at a premium.

“We’ve definitely recognized that parking is a significant issue on campus, not just for our students but also for the local residents,” Clinton Carter, the UNA Vice-President of Business and Financial Affairs explained.

Carter said they are trying to do whatever they can to address the parking issues.

The first phase of solving the problem is tearing down 13-apartment buildings across the street from the existing lot. They’re located behind Flowers Hall on Circular Drive.

Carter says re-striping the current lot and expanding it will net 450 new campus parking spots.

“To put that in perspective, that’s about 60% of the size of the existing parking deck that’s here. So, we get slightly over half the size of the existing parking deck for a total cost of $1.3-million, where a new parking deck would literally be 10-times that price,” Carter stated.

And school officials said the demand for campus apartments is on the decline, so very few students will affected by the razing of the buildings.

Demolition and construction of the new parking lot is expected to begin in June and take about five months to complete.

The city of Florence and university are also in the middle of a study to find ways to help alleviate parking around campus even more. The study should be completed in the coming months.