By Lauren Campbell
Framingham State University has been awarded $2.15 million from the Massachusetts State College Building Authority to construct a new parking lot on Salem End Road.
The lot was formerly the site of the six-building Salem Court Apartments, as well as a Japanese restaurant – all of which were torn down.
There were two additional buildings, both of which have been retained by the University. Executive Vice President Dale Hamel said, “The furthest one up Salem End Road ... that is what’s known locally as the 1812 House. We are retaining that to create a college planning center.”
The Board of Higher Education awarded FSU $280,000 last year and $240,000 this year. The state budget also included $400,000 to pay for the cost of renovating the 1812 House.
Hamel said the college planning center is being created in partnership with Massachusetts Bay Community College. “It’s going to provide guidance to predominantly underserved audiences,” Hamel said. “But anybody will be able to use it for guidance on the cost of education, how to finance education, help with financial aid forms and other kind of college-planning initiatives.”
The second building being retained was originally supposed to be torn down. “For the short-term, it was decided to keep it to house the ongoing Framingham Food Study,” Hamel said.
The cost to renovate these two buildings is included in the $2.15 million awarded to the school.
The 1.66 acre lot will feature 246 spaces. With construction of the new residence hall in the Maynard lot set to take place in 2015, which will take away spaces, the Salem End lot will result in a net increase of 106 parking spaces.
“We went from 430 [spaces] in Maynard, and we’re going to have 290 left,” Hamel said, referring to the footprint of the new dorm. “We’re losing 140 and we’re taking on 246.”
Hamel admitted that for the short-term, it is not be that much of an increase in parking spaces. “We’re going to have to take some of the parking for the construction,” he said.
Although the parking lot creates more spaces, some FSU students do not like the location.
Tremain Bell, a junior communication arts major, said he thinks the school should be more focused on constructing parking closer to campus. “Having parking further away from campus just makes it more stressful to get to class on time,” he said. “They need to make it more of a relief and not a challenge.”
Stephanie Callahan, a senior sociology major, said, “It’s way too far from campus. It will be an
inconvenience to students.”
Colin Anderson, a senior sociology major, said he doesn’t mind the location of the new lot. “If it increases the parking spaces, then I don’t care how far from campus it is.”
Some students Ynds themselves getting to campus early in order to find a spot in the morning. Julian Nanton, a junior business information systems major, commutes from Boston to Framingham. “I get to campus around 7:45 a.m. when I have class,” he said. “They need to continue to improve this [the parking] and do it quickly.”
Zack Shay, a junior criminology major, believes the school should invest in a parking garage for students who have their cars on campus.
Other students are concerned the lot is too far from campus buildings. Jenna Silva, a junior economics major, said, “I don’t see why they would invest all this money in a new science building when the parking issue needs to get fixed.” She added, “It is impossible to find a spot most days and as a result, people illegally park, making it even more difficult.”
Christian Marques, a sophomore food science major, agreed with Silva, saying the school should be focusing on parking. “The school didn’t need a big, new extension to Hemenway. What they need is a better solution to the parking.”
The completion of the lot is set for the end of October, and students will have access to it as well as Maynard before the construction for the new residence hall starts in March.