Parking RampPage address: http://www.mnsu.edu/parking/parking_ramp.html
Proposed Lot-4 Ramp
Eight years ago a parking consultant provided cost studies on whether MSU needed and could afford building a 400 stall parking ramp/tabletop structure. At the time of the study per space cost for construction and long term financing ranged from $9,431 ($3.8 million tabletop) to $12,233 ($4.9 million tabletop). Those prices may now top $18,000 per stall based on the exaample St. Cloud State University presents in its current ramp building project. Annual upkeep of such a structure is an expense that also has to be budgeted. See May 2000 Parking Study.
Now that St.Cloud State University is building a 500 stall, $9 million parking "structure," some believe it is time for Minnesota State Mankato to follow suit. The two universities are very different in where parking spaces are located and how the campus buildings are placed. St. Cloud used part of its institutional reserve to pay for about half of the $9 million in projected costs, whereas MSU has avoided accumulating large institutional reserves beyond what is recommended by its governing group, the Board of Trustees of the Minnesota State Colleges & Universities (MnSCU). At roughly $18,000 per stall one can see that building a parking stall is much more expensive than creating surface parking spaces at $2,500 per stall (curb and gutter, hard surface, lighting). MSU has some land options not available to St. Cloud State and MSU's bus and shuttle service to and from the more distant parking lots is extensive.
MSU's parking program receives no support from either state tax dollars, student activity fees, etc.; financially, it stands on its own. To finance the bonds to build a 400 stall structure MSU would have to commit all revenues from the ramp which would include permit income as well as cash receipts related to hourly parking. Should ramp income fail to pay for annual debt service and operating costs, funds would be tapped from existing parking program revenues (permit sales, fine collections, paylot fees, etc.)
There seems to be much support for ramp construction until people are confronted with the realization that the ramp would in all liklihood not be a self-sustaining entity and would need support from the rest of the Parking Program to ensure against a default on bond and related interest charges. It is a hard sell indeed to explain to a Gold, Orange, Purple, or residence hall Green permit holder why their investment in parking may have to be diverted to cover any cost associated with a ramp.
During 2007-08 the congestion in the inner core of the campus has been reduced thanks to the work of the Parking Advisory Committee and others. Using marketing techniques a significant number of cash customers who regularly used the visitors paylot (Lot 4) have chosen this past year to buy parking permits. One reason is that the PAC raised the first hour charge to $3 and the charge thereafter to $2 per hour. A year earlier a student or employee could park for two hours in the centrally located "sunken" visitors paylot for $3, now they would pay $5. Departments inviting guests to the University saw no increase in the the cost of the paylot passes they bought for their visitors ($5 full day pass; $2.50 half day pass), so it is believed that this year the paylot is actually being used more by visitors and guests instead of being full of students and employees.
Visitor Paylot vacancies now exist in the core of campus at peak periods of the class day, an unheard of stiuation just 12 months earlier. All of this may well change, however, as new buildings come online and affect the existing traffic patterns in the core of the campus. The new Sears residence hall west of the Student Union will open this fall with its 608 beds and no additional parking. A College of Business building is planned across the street from the Student Union which will attract a whole new group of customers who will want to park close-in. A multi-level ramp is being discussed which would affect and may well replace the existing 200 stall visitors paylot (Lot 4) and nearby 60 Gold permit stalls in Lot 4a. A parking structure in the core of the campus will be expensive.
For purposes of this survey two sites for a prospective ramp are offered. Even in the best of circumstances, only one could be financed, however, should a tabletop parking structure ever be approved.
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