By Corrine Hazen, For The Miami Student
Miami University is adding more parking following the sale of the previous Talawanda High School property to the university this past April.
"It is probably the single largest tract of non-residential property in Oxford that is within walking distance to our main campus," said Cody Powell, assistant vice pesident of Facilities, Planning and Operations.
According the Miami University Board of Trustees, this added space will provide Miami with approximately 400 additional off-campus parking spots, located off Collin Run Road. Powell said the sale of the high school property came at the perfect time to address the parking issues and loss of student activity and programming space.
"Recent construction activity on the Oxford campus has permanently reduced available parking by nearly 400 spaces and resulted in the loss of three recreation fields previously used for multiple student activities and intra-mural programming," Powell said. "Parking was removed from Spring Street to enhance the safety and ease of using bicycles to get around campus."
The new parking lot will give those 400 parking spaces back to students.
According to Powell, the board approved a $2.4 million dollar budget for this project. Demolition was also approved as of June this year, and the high school was razed in August.
"The materials are being sorted for the purpose of recycling metals and removed from the site," Powell said. "The Field House is being retained and will temporarily serve as an office for the BCRTA. The plan is to transition this field house into an intra-mural athletic and club sports space. We look for this to happen when the students return next Fall."
Kelly Spivey, Superintendent of Talawanda School District, said the school district would keep current maintenance and transportation services on the site.
"We are leasing this area for our continued maintenance and transportation needs," Spivey said. "The fuel tanks are utilized through a shared service plan. This arrangement can lead to a reduction in fuel costs which is a win-win for all parties."
Sophomore Kelsey Groll said she believes the additional parking will be a great benefit to the university.
"My hope would be that if [the university] took 400 spots away that they would replace them," Groll said. "Parking is such a premium in Oxford, so adding a place with that many spots will be incredibly helpful, especially since each new class that enters Miami grows."
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Powell said he believes this is the most cost-effective solution to the decline of available parking.
"One way to deal with this loss of parking spaces is to construct parking garages," Powell said. "This is a very expensive option, which typically results in higher cost fees to park in such facilities. We understand this is not a favorable situation.
Powell said he has hope of a positive outcome.