March 20, 2013
New lot considered a ‘gateway to future opportunities’
The Blinn College – Bryan campus plans a substantial increase in parking with a lot approved for construction by the College’s Board of Trustees. The new lot adds more than 300 spaces and increases the number of designated student parking spots to about 3,000.
At its regular March meeting, held Tuesday in Bryan, the board approved Dudley Construction to build the project.
Slated for completion by Fall 2013, construction is planned for a portion of a 12-acre plot of land the College owns near the intersection of Nash and Villa Maria. Adding the new lot will position the main campus buildings at the center point of available parking. Students will be able to park more quickly and get to class without facing a walk any further than if they had parked along E. 29th, in lots outside Blinn’s College Park Center. Costs for developing the land and building an automobile and pedestrian bridge across a retention waterway are expected to approach $1 million.
Dr. Ted Raspiller, president of Blinn’s Brazos County campuses, said the parking expansion helps springboard planning already underway for the campus’ next Master Plan. That project aims to chart a course of expansion for the next several years.
“Historically, we’ve had 12 buildable acres that we haven’t been able to access because of the creek that runs through our property for water overflow,” Raspiller said. “This allows us to open that land to future use.”
While positioning the College for growth, Raspiller said the primary objective driving the project is meeting the needs of students and improving safety with better traffic flow.
“Our primary focus here is on students,” Raspiller said. “We want to make sure their needs are accommodated.”
Ted Hajovsky, executive director of operations for Blinn’s Brazos County campuses, said groundwork and preparation should begin in early May, assuming the weather cooperates.
“Once construction is completed, traffic will come down Villa Maria to enter the parking lot and then exit on 25th Street so we don’t have a big crush of cars exiting via Villa Maria,” Hajovsky said.
The new parking plan allows the campus’ Strategic Parking Committee to look across the entire campus and rebalance handicapped, faculty and student parking appropriately. Raspiller noted the new parking lot would free up for development the high-value land currently being used for temporary parking next to the Academic Building. The need to expand parking is driven in large part by the steady growth Blinn has enjoyed in Bryan since opening its first location in 1970.
Parking woes have been partially relieved through expanding enrollment in online courses by about 33 percent College-wide since 2006. During that same six-year period, traditional on-campus Fall enrollment in Bryan has climbed by 2,521 students, or roughly 26 percent. The campus enrolled 12,242 students in Fall 2012.
“Part of being a good neighbor to the residents who live near Blinn means adding more parking and reducing the need for students to park on the street or in neighborhoods,” Hajovsky said.
The paved, lighted lot will feature low-cost, environmentally responsible landscaping.
“This new lot could be considered a gateway to future developments,” Raspiller said. “While ideas are still formulating for our future, the lot helps solve an immediate parking challenge and offers a long-term platform to prepare us for growth.”
Graphic – A schematic indicating how the new parking lot and traffic flow will interface with existing Blinn College – Bryan facilities. - PRINTABLE PDF