The construction of a new parking structure on South Campus is underway. What was once a small parking lot will become a larger, two-level garage topped by an Astroturf sports field.
The lot will occupy the space between Seaver Theater and First Street. Because the plot is on sloping ground, the completed structure will be only partially underground, with the First Street side exposed. Pomona College Vice President and Treasurer Karen Sisson, who also oversees campus planning and maintenance, said the natural slope will ease the construction of the underground portion.
The parking structure will feature a lacrosse field, which will be open to other club sports as well. Scripps College recently implemented this same building design on its campus.
Sisson estimated that the structure will create more than 600 parking spaces, providing more staff and faculty spots as well as extra parking for events at Bridges Auditorium and Seaver Theater. She does not, however, anticipate expanding student parking or allowing freshmen to have cars on campus in the future. She said administrators hope to encourage students to leave cars at home and make the campus more green and “pedestrian-friendly.”
According to Sisson, the construction team is currently working on “site grading,” leveling the ground to make it flat for the structure. Once the construction team begins work on the structure, the project should take about nine months.
Proceeds from 2008 bonds will provide funding for the parking structure, enabling the construction to go ahead as planned despite recent budget cuts. With bond money, Sisson said, there is no flexibility in how the money is used—once it has been granted for a parking structure, Pomona is forced to put it toward that purpose.
Sisson said she and the Campus Planning team are trying to make the structure as sustainable as possible. She said they would look into putting solar panels over the field, providing power for the structure and some shade for athletic events. The team is also planning to install a bioswale—a device that collects and filters runoff water before allowing it to soak into the ground or run into a storm sewer.
Unlike the construction of dormitories, Sisson said the building procedure for the parking structure is not very complex, so she does not anticipate much of an increase in noise. In fact, Sisson said there have been no official student noise complaints due to South Campus construction, unlike on North Campus, where two new dorm buildings are going up.
Referring to the South Campus construction, Cat Ulrich PO ’12 said “it woke me up at 7:30 AM for two days in a row last week, but for the most part it’s been more manageable lately.”
Many students in Mudd-Blaisdell, the closest dorm to the construction, said they did not notice the noise at all or had not even known about the construction project.