Story by Beth LeValley
Photo by Larissa Wurm
Men’s and women’s basketball, as well as the Drake volleyball team, will use this facility for most of their practices once it opens.
“This should not affect many people but athletic services,” said Mike Cigelman, associate director of athletics for facilities. “On a day-to-day basis, there will be minimal to no impact.”
At the busiest time of day, the parking lot fills to about a third of its capacity.
Overflowing traffic due to the construction can easily park in the tennis center parking lot across Clark Street.
The tennis center parking lot, at its busiest time, fills about 60 spaces out of its 245 available.
“The tennis center parking lot is used so little that the marching band actually practices on the east side, and the band will not be affected either,” Cigelman said. “If anyone, this construction affects facility services and faculty the most. Students rarely use these parking lots because they are so far away from the rest of campus.”
After the construction of this facility, the commuter parking lot behind the Knapp Center will still have 28 spaces in the lot left, which means 52 spaces are lost in the process.
During game days, traffic increases, but parking should remain available and easily accessible.
“During game days, our plan is to move the people from the Knapp Center parking lot to lot two, lot two to lot four, and lot four to lot one,” Cigelman said.
The cars in the commuter lot under construction will move to the lot across from 25th street, and the overflow from that parking lot will move to the lot across Clark Street, and any leftover cars can park in the lot between 24th and 25th street.
During construction of this facility, the athletics department plans to preserve the trees on the east side of the Knapp Center, especially the oak trees lined up against 25th Street.
After the facility is done, the goal is to not only help Drake teams practice more efficiently, but help the Drake community.
“One challenge we have is the amount of court space available in the Bell Center,” Cigelman said. “With this new facility, it will open up the gym for the community to use daily.”
The Bell Center gym will be available to all students much more after the building of this new practice facility.
“As of right now, it has no major impact on my commute, and I hope it stays that way. I usually park on 27th Street and even though my classes are not directly next to my parking, I don’t have any problems going there,” commuter student Husein Mehmedovic said.
Mehmedovic also said he hopes the new basketball facility will help the athletic environment at Drake.
Alanna Orfield, another student who commutes to and from Drake, also does not have a problem with the change.
“I never park in that parking lot, so it doesn’t really affect me,” Orfield said.