The addition of the Communication Arts Building in downtown Cleveland has increased traffic, but Cole Strong, Lee University director of special projects, said there is not a shortage of parking.
According to Strong, 38 parking spots were included in the construction of the newest Lee facility. These spots are located on the north and south sides of the building. An additional 57 on-street parking spots can be found between Central Avenue and North Ocoee Street.
Classes started on Aug. 20. Strong said there have been no issues as of yet.
“What you do see during class changes is a lot of students walking. You see a lot of to and fro,” he said. “There is a lot of foot traffic.”
He said students tend to be concerned about the parking situation. However, the university has made several adjustments to ensure the increased traffic and continued construction in the old First Baptist parking lot do not limit parking.
All employees are asked to park off campus. Spaces are available in the back lot of North Cleveland Church of God, the Mayfield annex and Schimmel’s. A shuttle system is available to employees who do not want to walk from the parking lots.
As an incentive, those who park off campus can pick up a lunch voucher at either the Center for Teaching excellence or Campus Safety.
Strong also pointed to the new “Campus Ride” shuttles running throughout the day for students and employees. The two shuttles are clearly labeled and run roughly every 15 minutes. Students can use the shuttles to travel faster from one side of campus to the other.
The Communication Arts building was the first in a series of construction projects completed on the south end of campus. Additional projects include continued work on Pangle Hall (the old First Baptist Church), the grassy quadrangle (the old First Baptist Church parking lot) and the nursing school building (to be built somewhere on the quadrangle).
“The whole south campus down there is going to continue to develop and so is our emphasis on parking,” Strong said. “The parking lots we own on the east side of Parker Street are currently being used for parking. In the coming months, we plan to continue redeveloping those parking lots to make them more efficient and user friendly.”
There are approximately four parking lots owned by Lee starting at the intersection of Central Avenue and Parker street and going toward the north end of campus. One lot is currently being used for the school’s buses. Faculty may also use the lots. These lots will eventually be used for event parking when there is a performance at Pangle Hall.
Strong said he did not think the increased construction and expansion into downtown Cleveland would negatively affect community residents or students.
“We pay attention to parking,” he said. “We know it is a necessity. It is something students want and they want as much access to each building as they can get. The whole ‘let me park here and walk five blocks’ is not appealing to them.”