Construction underway for Pond Student Union building parking lot - East Idaho News
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Construction underway for Pond Student Union building parking lot

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POCATELLO — Construction is underway on a parking lot that many Idaho State University students use.

The parking lot for the Pond Student Union Building is being completely redone so that it can be brought up to modern-day standards. Once completed, the new parking lot will function differently than the previous one.

“I think it’s going to be a lot smoother. It’s not going to feel so cramped,” said Chris Baker, Idaho State University’s assistant director for capital projects.

To complete the project on time, contractors demolished half of the parking lot in mid-March.

“Ideally, we wanted to do the whole parking lot after the spring semester ended and just have it as a summer project, but there just wasn’t a way to get it all done in the summer,” Baker said.

With the pavement and concrete walkways failing, the university started this project because the parking lot has deteriorated and doesn’t meet ADA compliance.

“The existing parking lot had deteriorated to the point where it wasn’t repairable. So we have to just replace the whole parking lot,” said Steve Hagler, ISU’s director of design and construction.

One issue with the walkways is that they’re inaccessible since they’re at different heights than the pavement. They also stop once they reach Humbolt Street, which runs parallel to the parking lot.

There are also safety concerns with the present design of the lot. Drivers have to turn onto Humbolt to navigate the parking lot’s one-way aisles.

“If there’s not a parking spot, you come out, and you’re entering or exiting on several lanes into Humbolt, which creates a safety concern because there
(are) multiple lanes pulling out or pulling in (to the road),” Baker said.

The lanes are also narrow, and the parking spots are small. Baker said a lot of fender benders happen in the parking lot because of the current design.

Redoing the lot has been in the works for around seven years, but wasn’t possible until the university received facilities funding from the state Legislature for deferred maintenance projects.

Once completed, the parking lot will no longer have one-way lanes or sidewalks in between each aisle. The lanes will be widened, and the parking spots will be larger, with space within the parking lot for vehicles to switch between aisles for easier maneuverability.

There will only be two entrances on Humbolt into the parking lot, and there will also be a sidewalk going along the road. There will also be a new pull-through bus stop as well.

University officials don’t have final numbers yet on how many parking spots there will be in the new lot, but they expect the number to be close to the same amount of parking spots in the old lot.

“Larger vehicles will be able to park in there,” Baker said. “Normal size trucks nowadays have a hard time parking in that parking lot. So I think the whole of the parking lot is going to be better.”

Baker said that while it’s not convenient to eliminate half of the parking spots at the end of the semester, they decided that was better than to have the whole parking lot closed at the start of the fall semester.

“There’s really not a good time to do the project, and with the parking lot failing, we had to do the project at some time,” Baker said.

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