ARC undergoing parking renovations


An artist’s rendering of the view from College Oak Drive of the upcoming five-story student parking garage between Davies Hall and Beaver Stadium that will be complete in 2013.

Karen Thomas and Karen Thomas

For the nearly 35,000 American River College students struggling to find parking in one of the 3,454 slots available for students, including motorcycle and disabled, there is some relief on the horizon. By April 2013, a 1,748-slot, multi-story car park will stand where the tennis courts are currently located, sacrificing only 32 of the 46 lost parking spaces during construction. According to the maps, the location makes the structure very convenient for quickly getting to Davies Hall, the athletic fields, the gym, the portable village, and liberal arts.

 In the meantime, carpooling, using public transportation, riding a bike, or getting a friend to drop you off at school are good ways to reduce the congestion, stress, and tardiness that may be inflated by the construction.

“I’m parked on Auburn Boulevard.  I’ve only parked (on campus) three times,” said psychology major Yvette Veiga. “I would get my (parking permit) money back, but it’s too late.”

A new Student Center is also in the works. There will be 35,000 feet of space for a new cafeteria, student government chambers, campus life center, and other student life services.  The project started in January 2011 with a budget of $24 million, and while originally was due to be completed by fall of 2011, has a new completion date of fall 2012. Much-needed infrastructure improvements including water and electricity were completely updated to alleviate problems from old, insufficient utility services to the campus, providing new lines to the Student Center and improved service to the rest of the campus.

Director of Administrative Services Laduan Smedley is the project coordinator for ARC; Smedley hears and understands the unhappy comments from students and staff.

“When these projects are completed, it will be well worth all the inconvenience that we are currently going through, especially the parking structure,” said Smedley.

To further complicate matters, two additional buildings were slotted into the construction project queue; a new $9 million culinary arts building, and a $7.3 million life science/fine arts building to replace the portable modules near lot B.

“We try to do two projects a year, but additional monies became available, so we also needed to act on the culinary arts and science projects.” said Smedley. The Oak Café will have a new home, along with the culinary arts department.

In light of recent cuts to classes and faculty, all this construction might seem to be awkwardly timed, but bond measure monies provided the funding for the majority of the work, with just the life sciences building being a mix of bonds and other funds, according to Smedley. Bond measures run on two-year cycles, with voters petitioning to get new measures on the ballot, then being voted in or out during general elections. Measure M passed in November of 2008 by a 58 percent vote, granting the Los Rios Community College District $475 million for expansion and upgrades at all campuses.

“We’re trying to make sure our facilities and our infrastructure can continue to meet the needs of the students and our programs for the long term. That’s our goal,”said Smedley.

While all the construction zones might be disruptive and take away from the much-needed parking spaces, remember there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. Until then, take a cue from Brenda Baker from the maintenance department, who had this to say about the parking:

“At 5:30 a.m. I have no problem at all (finding parking).”