by Alfredo Martinez
For those JPCatholic students who make it a habit of driving to class, whether as a resident or commuter, one of the first sights to greet them as they returned from the Christmas break was a cordoned-off parking lot directly behind the 155 building. This property was being surveyed by a team of professionals in order to begin construction on new student housing.
Students have come to depend on this lot for safe and convenient parking. However, for about the first two weeks of the quarter, access to this lot was blocked off. Dr. Connolly said the quick answer is that a survey team was hired to make some structural assessments of the property and to survey the land. “This will be the site of a new student housing structure,” Dr. Connolly said. He added, “We are looking to break ground in 2018… probably toward the end of the year.” When asked whether students should expect further interruptions to their access to this coveted lot, he stated that “it should remain accessible until the time we break ground.” It should, however, be noted that this is not an official student parking lot. These spaces are not reserved for students. The school simply owns the property and allows students to park there.
For those who look at their bill and wonder from where the parking permit fee comes and to what it gets applied, there is an official parking area for students. In the large parking lot behind the California Center for the Arts, Dr. Connolly points out that, “there are eighty spaces reserved for students that we pay for every month.” These spaces are in the North West corner of the lot, directly across the street from the Latitude Apartments. They are, however, seldom used by the students.
For those who live at Latitude and wish to avoid the eight to ten minute walk, those spots do not make difference. As for commuters who arrive, sometimes with few precious minutes to spare, they are not very practical. But they remain the only guaranteed parking spaces for students, at least for the next couple of years. Until then, students who wish to park closer to the main building will have recourse to the parking lot on the North side of Second Avenue. It is first come, first serve. Also be mindful of the areas where students are not allowed to park, as there is the risk of receiving a parking citation.
There is hope for students as the future looks to bring some relief to their parking concerns. Along with the student housing project, set to break ground later this year, there is a plan to build a parking structure on the South side of Second Avenue. According to Dr. Connolly, the date for the parking structure is still tentative. The JP Catholic 2025 Strategic Plan proposes 2019, but it may be delayed to 2020.
The Student Housing Project is the first of the Strategic Plan to be introduced. It will be the living quarters for the freshmen and sophomores, while the juniors and seniors will continue to reside at Latitude. The dorm-style housing will accommodate 300 students. As for the parking structure, it will provide 450 parking spaces for residents, commuters, faculty, and staff alike.
Photos Courtesy of Anne Linn and jpcatholic.com.