The University of Toledo is accelerating plans to replace the two parking garages on Main Campus with surface paved lots out of an abundance of caution.
The East Ramp and West Ramp Parking Garages were intended to be torn down next year aligned with an update to the University’s parking system. But in response to the national conversation about the safety of concrete structures following the tragedy of the Surfside condominium collapse in Miami and recent inspections of the structures during annual repairs, the University has decided to demolish the campus parking garages this summer.
“The degradation of the garages is continuing at an expedited pace compared to what we’ve seen in recent years and for the safety of our campus community, we needed to move up our timeline to take them down,” said Jason Toth, senior associate vice president for administration. “Despite our best efforts to extend the structural integrity of the garages, they have reached the end of their useful life.”
As with all parking garages, damage from de-icing salts, snow plowing, winter freeze and thaw cycles, and exposure to sun and water impact the lifespan of the structures, Toth explained. The garages were built in 1976.
The University has begun to prepare for the demolition, which will impact nearby parking on campus during the summer months. Parking Area 2 next to the East Ramp will be closed during demolition and the southern aisle of parking spots in Area 13 closest to the West Ramp will be unavailable during demolition. West Rocket Drive also will be closed during the demolition with the Area 13 parking lot accessible only off the Campus Road entrance to Main Campus.
The majority of the parking garage demolitions are planned to take place during the summer prior to the start of fall semester, but the cleanup of the sites is expected to take until mid-September. Surface parking lots will then be installed at the sites of the current parking garages.
“We appreciate the patience of the campus community that is already navigating the construction of the Centennial Mall enhancement project this summer, but we are confident that these short-term inconveniences are necessary for the long-term positive impacts on the University,” Toth said.
Even with the demolition of the parking garages, UToledo will continue to have excess parking spaces to meet the needs of students, faculty, staff and visitors. There are 909 spaces in the East Ramp and 750 spaces in the West Ramp. Once the garages are removed, there will continue to be more than 6,700 parking spaces across Main Campus. There are more than 4,400 spaces on Health Science Campus. Taking into account projected parking demand based on enrollment and employment trends and peak traffic times on campus, the University expects to continue to have a surplus of parking spaces.
The demolition of the parking garages is aligned with the University’s efforts to modernize its parking operations by refinancing its parking assets and partnering with an industry leader, SP+. In the new ParkUToledo configuration, UToledo will receive an upfront payment to be invested in strategic initiatives and receive residual income over the life of the contract, and SP+ is taking over day-to-day parking operations and assumes responsibility for capital expenditures for the parking assets, including paving and striping.