Parking Structure Opens

The newly-constructed Engineering/ICS Parking Structure has been opened to students since Jan. 3. The construction began in September 2004 and cost $38 million to complete. An adjacent multipurpose office building attached to one side of the parking structure has not yet opened.
The parking structure consists of seven floors with approximately 2,000 parking spaces. According to residential advisors at Middle Earth Housing, as of this week, Middle Earth residents will be provided 100 parking spaces while the remainder will be given to commuters.
The facility can be accessed on East Peltason Drive across from University Hills and adjacent to Middle Earth Housing, from East Peltason and Anteater Drive, or via the service road that leads to the Engineering Laboratory Facility.
The parking structure provides a net gain of nearly 1,600 spaces, up from the 418 spaces in the original lot. It features unique double helix ramps, three stairwells and two hydraulic elevators at opposite corners of the parking structure. The interior of the parking structure is ventilated by natural air. The exterior architecture includes concrete elements and metal screens.
Surrounding landscape has been modified to accommodate the parking facility. East Peltason has been expanded from one lane to two in order to ensure easier traffic entry into the parking structure, and sidewalks and pedestrian ramps border the structure for convenient access. The landscape currently includes flowers, shrubbery and trees, although it is not fully completed.
Still under construction, the four-story multipurpose office facility will provide additional offices as well as classrooms.
The UC Irvine Office of Design and Construction Services managed the project along with oversight from Associate Vice Chancellor Rebekah Gladson. The parking structure was made by San Diego design architects Robbins-Jorgensen-Christopher and Irvine executive architects Parkitects, from Irvine, both of which were selected by UCI.
According to Ronald Fleming, division manager in field services and operations, concerns did arise during the building of the parking facility.
‘The soaring prices of building materials was a major factor in the construction of the structure,’ Fleming said. ‘Structured parking facilities can cost anywhere from $13,000 to $30,000 per stall. There are several factors that dictate cost.’
The parking structure has been in use by Middle Earth residents and commuters since its completion, and has been beneficial to students.
‘I used to park across the street,’ said Ross Mather, first-year undecided major in social sciences. ‘It’s a lot better to be able to park here since it’s closer to Middle Earth.’
Third-year computer engineering major Vinh Tran found the parking structure convenient due to the additional parking and proximity to his classes. However, he found it inconvenient that the entrance into the parking structure was not strategically placed.
‘From my engineering classes, I have to walk around the parking structure to enter it through the vehicle entrance facing Middle Earth,’ Tran said. ‘It would be less of a hassle if there was an entrance facing the engineering complexes.’