Lot 21, the newly expanded parking lot at ETSU, will be ready for the start of classes Monday. The parking lot is visible in the background. Farther back is the new parking garage, which will be ready in mid-October. Ron Campbell/Johnson City Press.
You can’t build much in a storm.
East Tennessee State University administrators know that truth all too well as completion of the school’s new $26 million parking garage has been pushed back until well after the start of the fall semester, which begins Saturday, due to inclement weather for much of the past year.
See a video report at the end of this article.
The garage, located on the west end of campus, was originally scheduled to be complete in time for the first real day of class on Monday, but the constant barrage of stormy weather this summer that has included many deluges has delayed construction on the garage and the expansion of an adjacent parking lot; however, dry weather for much of this past weekend allowed crews to complete that lot — known as Lot 21 — with 550 parking spots available.
Completion of Lot 21 is a big relief for David Collins, vice president of finance and administration at ETSU, who admitted accommodating all the traffic Monday would have been difficult had the lot been delayed.
See a photo gallery of the construction at the end of this article.
Collins learned Sunday evening that enough progress had been made on Lot 21 that it would be ready for students Monday.
“They were able to get the first binder coat down over the entire parking lot,” Collins said from his office this morning.
The finishing coat should be applied today. All the curbing was completed Sunday. Local concrete plants stayed open to accommodate the project.
Painting and striping should happen Wednesday and Thursday.
“So unless we just have a complete washout of days, which is not in the current weather forecast, we feel confident in the schedule that we put out,” Collins said, referring to a document released Sunday night regarding the parking/road closure situation on campus.
That document includes the following information:
• North Dossett Drive, which runs between Warf-Pickel Hall and Lucille Clement Hall, will be open to motorists on Thursday, as freshmen arrive for move-in day.
• The new Jack Vest Drive, which now crosses from State of Franklin Road to J.L. Seehorn Drive, opens on Friday, as does Go Bucs Trail (formerly Jack Vest Drive), which runs parallel to State of Franklin Road behind Earth Fare.
• In addition, Lot 21, which is the new lot behind Warf-Pickel Hall, opens the same day and will provide parking for students, faculty and staff.
• The BUCSHOT Shuttle service will run from Lot 22A as well as all other student parking areas. Lot 22A sits on the corner of Greenwood Drive and Go Bucs Trail behind Earth Fare.
• Overflow parking is available at Thomas Stadium (baseball) on University Parkway and at BucVillage behind campus off Southwest Avenue. Shuttle services can be accessed in these areas, as well.
• Information regarding parking and campus construction is available at http://www.etsu.edu/fa/fs/parking/detour/. A complete schedule for the BUCSHOT shuttle service can be viewed at http://www.johnsoncitytransit.org/servicearea_routemaps.htm.
• More information can be found on the ETSU Detour page at http://www.etsu.edu/fa/fs/parking/detour/.
The parking garage should be ready for students by the middle of October. Elevators must be installed, Collins said. Once finished, the garage will accommodate parking for 1,200 student motorists.
Collins gave credit for the timely completion of the expanded Lot 21 to Retenbach — the main contractor, Baker Construction — the contractor that has completed most of the grading work and Summers Taylor — the contractor that has done the asphalt work.
“Thank goodness the weather did hold off,” Collins said. “There was some fairly heavy chance of rain both Saturday and Sunday but in both cases it held off... . They’ve been here by about 7 in the morning working until 8:30 at night, even on Sunday. So they’ve really done a yeoman’s job to get us to where we are now.”