By Anthony Guillen
By Anthony Guillen
A new plan will be brought before the Riverside Community College Board of Trustees that could ease some of the early semester headaches students experience originating from the parking problems on campus.
Lee Wagner, RCC director of Safety and Police and chief of parking, will present an $18 million, five-level parking structure plan to the Board in the coming months. The project, if approved by the Board, will become one of the first projects to be financed using Measure C bond funding approved by voters last March.
In accordance with procedural guidelines for using bond funding Wagner has been meeting bi-weekly with the Measure C citizen’s oversight committee who must first approve any project that would require bond funding.
Wagner said that the committee seemed to welcome the recommendation for additional parking on campus because of the obvious benefits that it offers to students as well as the surrounding residents.
“We opted to go for a bigger facility to have a greater impact on parking,” Wagner said. “(The committee) seemed to appreciate the need for parking here.”
The five level structure, designed by Higginson & Cartozian Architects Inc., would house an additional 1,100 new parking spaces, increasing the amount of parking on campus by one-third. The structure would include security offices, athletic offices, restroom facilities, two elevators, three stairwells and eight tennis courts that would be located on the top floor.
Wagner stressed the care that went into designing security features into the facility. In addition to carefully placed lighting, security cameras will be placed throughout the facility and two security officers will be on duty when it opens.
“Safety is a top priority with this facility,” Wagner said.
Wagner said that the structure will be architecturally appealing as well. Five columns are designed on the eastern wall that could be used for athletic murals, and one of the columns will include a clock tower.
Grace Slocum, member of the Board of Trustees, said that she is optimistic about the parking structure project being approved by the Board.
“I sense that it (will be approved.) It is one of those things that the community wants,” she said.
The Board is under some pressure to get the parking structure approved. Slocum stressed the money saving benefits that the parking structure would provide the college if constructed in a timely fashion.
“There is pressure to get this through as fast as possible,” she said.
“We would benefit from a domino effect. We would save money by using dirt (from the excavation of the parking lot) to repair the football field and the track, and we would benefit from the additional parking when further construction begins on campus.”
Students who have battled for scarce parking spaces said that the additional parking would be welcomed.
Part-time RCC student Adam Parris said that parking at the Riverside Campus can be a nightmarish experience early in the semester.
“Last semester, I missed my first class completely. I spent two and a half hours looking for a parking space. The first week is a nightmare, but after two or three weeks it’s not that bad,” he said.