After 39 years, it’s finally time to replace the Markle parking deck. The structure is planned to be torn down and rebuilt starting around the end of this year, with some new additions to give first-time visitors a better first impression of the college.
The deck will boast 228 new parking spaces, many of which will be allotted to students and staff of the college. It will also include an improved top level for visitors thanks to a $2 million donation from the Hugel family.
“We’re anticipating with the top level, really enhancing the admissions experience and the visitor experience,” said Vice President of Finance and Administration Roger Demareski. “By the time [visitors] walk up the hill to get to Markle, it’s been quite an experience already.
“And so the idea is having some dedicated spaces for admissions and for visitors, really welcoming people to campus…and increasing the experience for our prospective students.”
Other improvements include increased accessibility for people with physical disabilities coming up the hill from the parking deck.
Demareski noted that the timing of the project is targeted to align the demolition phase—which will be the noisiest—with the winter interim. This was something they learned during the construction for the Rockwell Integrated Science Center, he said, when people in nearby dorms and in the Acopian Engineering frequently took issue with the racket.
The parking deck is monitored every year for wear and damage, and the college has done minor maintenance in the past. Most of the wear, Demareski said, comes from salt brought in off the roads and from direct sunlight exposure, in addition to the weight of regular usage. He emphasized that the structure is still perfectly safe, and that the construction is a part of the natural life cycle of the deck.
At $14 million, the deck will be one of the more expensive projects of the year. In addition to the $2 million given by the Hugel family, the college will finance the remainder of the project through a bank loan, Demareski said.