New Parking Lot to Benefit Students

K. Patricia Bouweraerts
Image of TMCC Parking Lots

Parking lots at TMCC shown in summer and winter. The new parking lot will have four electric vehicle (EV) charging stations.

Shuttle vans carrying student passengers from far-off parked vehicles, and College officials handing out water bottles on hot days in August brought attention to a pressing need for more parking at Truckee Meadows Community College.

So, Facilities Operations and Capital Planning at TMCC proposed a new paved parking lot, and the Nevada System of Higher Education approved construction at its most recent Board of Regents meeting in December.

The additional parking area will stand to benefit students with 400 additional spaces.

“When they closed off the overflow (DRI) lots, I had to park along the side of the road past the roundabout and walk about 20 minutes to class,” said Andrew Simons, Culinary Arts major. “Any time you arrived past 9 a.m., you’d have to circle the lot or park on the side of Raggio or Dandini.”

Tandy Gach, Graphic Communications student, agrees that parking was short and the new lot will help her get to classes on time.

“I get here a half hour to 45 minutes early for class because I don’t want to be late,” Gach said. “I carry two backpacks and sometimes need to leave one in the car and go back for the other one during the day.”

She thinks many other students will be happy to have extra parking available.

“There’s got to be a high number of students that feel this way – that it’s good to have more parking spots in different areas,” Gach said.

David Radonski, a Fine Arts major, said that during the Fall Semester, he came to campus hours before class.

“When DRI had the overflow lot, I parked there to avoid hassles,” Radonski said. “When I had an English class at 11 a.m., I’d come up to school at 9 a.m. to get a spot. If I didn’t get here between 9 and 10 a.m., I’d be in the outskirts, back by the section of Raggio that runs behind the campus, or in the overflow lots.”

A fellow Fine Arts student, Cesar Piedra, agreed, adding that sometimes the cold weather makes the long walks to Red Mountain Building more challenging.

“People are parked along the side of the road – it’s not the safest to walk; the road curves, so there’s not enough visibility,” Piedra said. “There is not much space to park width-wise for the wheels of your car.”

Students also think that more parking will offer other benefits. Simons said that the lot will help for classes, but would also be useful for events.

“It will be great, especially if we have a special event or speaker,” he said. “It would attract more people to campus with the additional capacity.”

New lot will be at the northeast side of campus

The lot is being planned for the northeast side of campus and will be accessed from campus loop road, or lots I and G, said Dave Roberts, Executive Director of Facilities Operations and Capital Planning at TMCC.

“Because our campus is on a hill, we looked for the flattest area to build,” Roberts said. “We will need to add some fill dirt and DRI has offered us some of their fill from nearby to cut costs.”

Students like the planned site.

“I like the new, proposed location, because it doesn’t block the view from the Vista building,” Simons said. “And it’s flat, so it will help with access for people with disabilities.”

The Dandini campus has an excellent record for pedestrian safety and Roberts said that it is one of Facilities’ top concerns.

“We will have flashers at the crosswalk which will tie into a sidewalk to the Sierra Building walkway,” Roberts said.

Additional efforts to increase power conservation are included with electric car charging units.

“We are also planning to install four electric vehicle (EV) charging stations with capacity to add more in the future and are exploring the idea of using solar to power those stations,” Roberts said. “We are planning to use LED parking lot lights for energy efficiency with minimal maintenance.”

Simons said that he was glad to hear TMCC is keeping costs down and planning for sustainability.

“With Nevada leading the movement in having Tesla come to the area, and Faraday is also looking into building a facility in southern Nevada, this keeps with our spirit of innovation,” Simons said.

Costs to build the lot

The new lot will cost approximately $2.4 million, at about $6,000 per parking spot.

The parking lot will be paid for with existing capital improvement funds, and students will not pay any additional fees for the lot’s construction.

“No new student fees will be added,” Roberts said.

He noted that the additional parking lot is planned to open for Fall Semester 2016.

Earlier in the semester, students were polled by the TMCC Student Government Association (SGA) whether they would support building a parking lot with half of the cost paid for with a new student fee. The flat one-level open parking lot option is the most economical alternative, and it was found that there is no need for a new fee to be charged to students.

More information about the new parking lot at TMCC can be obtained by contacting Facilities Operations and Capital Planning at 775-673-7100.