The new 1.66 acre parking lot on Salem End Road, purchased by FSU administration, opened at the beginning of spring semester 2015. The new lot has added an additional 246 spaces to the FSU campus.
The Massachusetts Sate College Board awarded Framingham State University $2.15 million for the construction of the Salem End Road project last year.
Although the lot adds 246 spaces, there is only a net increase of 106 spaces because the current construction of the new residence hall in Maynard lot has closed 140 spaces.
In order to build the new residence hall, the Facilities building must be demolished, and the department will be relocated. While FSU is undergoing the construction, the administrators continue to look at surrounding properties that could potentially meet the increased demands of parking.
According to Executive Vice President Dale Hamel, the surrounding properties are limited.
“We are not Westfield State,” Hamel said.
The Board of Trustees approved the purchase of a three-story office building located at the end of the service road across from Route 9 at their meeting on Thursday, Jan. 29.
The new building will allow for the relocation of staff by providing office space and including additional parking, freeing up spaces for students currently used by employees.
“FSU is trying to move forward with the increasing capacity.” The problem is that as the growth of enrollment continues, so does the need for more residence halls, dining areas, faculty offices, faculty and parking, according to Hamel.
Since 2012, FSU has added an additional 243 spaces – a 13 percent increase. In the fall of 2012 there were approximately 4,489 day-division students, which has increased to 4,611 students in fall 2014.
With growth on all fronts, it is nearly impossible for FSU to get ahead on the parking problem, according to Hamel. “It would be nice if [an opportunity] came along where we could make a larger impact to make up for” the lack of parking, he said.
Associate Vice President of Facilities and Capital Planning Warren Fairbanks said, “Based on our estimates, with regard to enrollment growth, this parking lot addition should satisfy the needs of the University for a number of years.”
According to Hamel, a parking garage was considered prior to the construction of the Salem End Road lot, but it would have been twice the cost per space. In order to follow through with a project that large, FSU would have to significantly raise parking fees, he said.
“At some point, the decision will be to choose an option that will have a larger impact, like a parking deck, or obtaining a larger piece of property that would have a significant impact on parking.”
In regards to the future plan for parking, “After the new residence hall is open in September 2016, there will be 1,574 student parking spaces,” said Fairbanks. That is less than half the number of the students enrolled in fall of 2014.
“FSU always seems to be lagging in parking,” said Hamel.
Senior environmental science major Kat Donovan said, “Overall, the parking lot is helpful. It’s nice to see Framingham State is making more parking, but it is still not efficient for the amount of commuters at the college.
“We need more! I can never get a spot,” she added.
Justin Tetrault, a senior business management major, said, “I like how they finally opened a second lot. Before the snow, it was much easier to find a parking spot, and that’s a good thing for commuting students. But now with the snow, well, it’s like we are back to square one again.”
Adeyemi Ajao, a graduate business management student, said, “I haven’t even looked at the parking lot, and can’t remember the last time I parked in Maynard. I don’t follow the rules when it comes to parking.”
Saleek Marshall, a junior business major, said, “I like the parking lot – it’s a little bit more convenient than Maple.”
Lydia Perry, a senior business major, said, “The parking lots are awful. I wish they waited until I left FSU. What an eyesore!”
Bryan Ethier, a senior communication arts major, said, “I’m glad FSU is making more accommodations for commuter students since we are a large part of the community here.”