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May 9, 2013

Dirt begins to fly on Blinn’s Bryan Campus as parking lot expansion takes shape

Earth moving equipment assembled as two-month project kicks off

The Blinn College – Bryan campus has begun construction on a new parking lot, near the intersection of Red River drive and East Villa Maria road, a project that adds more than 300 spaces and increase the number of designated student parking spots to about 3,000.

Construction crews have assembled heavy equipment and are beginning to grade the land and remove brush in preparation for the asphalt lot and bridge assembly that will connect the lot to campus.

The new lot will position the main campus buildings at the center point of available parking. Parking will be faster for students, with the new option being no further from campus buildings than other parking options along E. 29th, near 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.

According to Richard O’Malley, executive director of administrative services, the projected date for completion is July 31, allowing full use of this expanded parking option for the start of the Fall semester, Aug. 26. Traditionally Blinn’s busiest semester for enrollment, the Bryan campus enrolled more than 12,300 students in Fall 2012.

The need to expand parking is driven in large part by the College’s steady growth in Bryan since opening its first location in 1970.

Some parking challenges have been addressed by expanding enrollment in online courses by about one-third College-wide since 2006. During that same six-year period, traditional on-campus Fall enrollment in Bryan grew by 2,521 students, or roughly 26 percent.