From Blot to Lot

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Photo by Austin Weaver

Nestled between Parking Lot I and the baseball diamond, weathered tennis courts once sat untouched, bleaching in the sun.

Today the courts and the chain-link fence that enclosed them are gone, replaced by a shiny black lot with more than 100 parking spaces.

The lot was completed during the week before the spring semester began. It will function as one lot with Lot I, said Derek Hall, Ph.D., vice president of university relations.

“We’ve wanted to tear down the old fences and tennis courts. We did not want to replace them, and we figured parking is our best option right now,” Hall said. “We wanted to clean it up. We hired a contractor to come in and put down what’s called a topcoat—a layer of tar—and stripe it.”

Michael Bobbin, executive director of campus services, called the project “a simple job.” The new lot however, serves a useful function.

“We typically don’t fill [Lot I] on a daily basis,” Bobbin said. “We’re sort of saving [the new lot] for special event parking—commencement, baseball games, and event overflow.”
For now, a thin rope reminds drivers that the lot is not yet open.

“Right now it’s still roped off because we have to finish the transition from old parking lot to new,” Hall said.

For at least five years, there have been alternative proposals for the land where the lot sits. According to Hall, the Athletics department suggested the construction of a basketball or volleyball practice facility there. This year, however, the university’s priority was to find a cost-effective way to beautify the site.

Bobbin is pleased with the outcome.

“We wanted to basically alleviate an eyesore, an empty tennis court not being used, and I think it’s a beneficial change.”

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