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Talbot and parking construction continue despite delays

Parking and Talbot construction have fallen behind after a rainy winter and delays with city agencies.

Talbot building delayed two months

According to Ken Bascom, senior director of Facilities Planning and Construction, construction of the East Talbot building will not finish until Sept. 15, and fall classes are currently being scheduled without the building in mind. The building originally had a July 14 finish date, which was later shifted to Aug. 15. The projected finish date has now been shifted to September because of delays with Los Angeles County and because of what Bascom called the rainiest December in a long time.

Parking structure on target for fall

Similar delays with government agencies have slowed construction of the $8 million parking garage replacing Lot I near the baseball field. The garage currently under construction was placed between the baseball field and the pool with commuters in mind, Bascom said.

“We still feel we’re in a good position to be finished [with the garage] for the first day of classes in the fall,” Bascom said. “The only thing that could hurt us now is if we had an extremely wet spring.”

According to Bascom, La Mirada requires Biola to comprise 676 spaces for every 1,000 full time students.

“Right now we are below that requirement,” Bascom said. “The city knows that. We talked to the city when economic problems happened [in 2008]. We will have far more than required next fall.”

Traffic redirected through campus

Meanwhile, students are greeted by detours and “watch for traffic” signs by Horton, Hope and the Caf.

Bascom said the university has tried over the years to redirect traffic to the outer parts of campus in order to clear up other paths at the core of campus for students to walk on without worrying about cars.

“When I was a student here, vehicles could drive right by the bells,” Bascom said.

La Mirada has also tried to redirect traffic. Bascom said the city currently requires parking garages be built on the east side of campus to direct traffic onto La Mirada Avenue rather than Biola Avenue. Consequently, the next parking garage in the works, which Bascom said is a long way off in the future, will be next to the Alpha Chi dorm.

Temporary parking lot and off campus parking helps

Bascom encouraged students to use the temporary parking lot next to the fields near McNally. The lot adds 99 parking places.

“Students are just now figuring out about the temporary parking lot,” Bascom said. “At 1 p.m. Monday [the first day of classes] there were only three vacant spots.”

In addition to making the temporary parking lot available, Biola is compensating employees for parking off campus. According to Bascom, 80 employees are signed up to park at the La Mirada City Hall, 35 faculty and staff are signed up to park at Trinity Baptist Church, and 25 faculty and staff are signed up to park at the former Lutheran church up the street from Biola. Biola has also reserved a row of parking spaces under the soccer field for employees who sign up to park there. Bascom said Biola asked those who signed up for the spaces to come in groups, husband and wife, friend with friend.

Faculty spaces needed

“We have far fewer faculty and staff spaces than we have faculty and staff that need them,” Bascom said. “We get several requests a year to increase the number of faculty and staff spaces. We’ve resisted that for a long time.”

Biola has 301 parking spaces reserved for faculty and staff, though there are 900.

Bascom said finishing the new parking garage in time for the fall semester will be a close call, but there is additional money the university can use on overtime and other special measures as a last line of defense to speed construction. The money for the garage comes from some institutional funds put aside without a specific purpose in mind and Auxilary Services room and board funds that Auxilary Services will pay back eventually. The internal payment allows the university to keep all loans internal.

Dreaming about future projects

While current construction continues, Bascom said the university is still looking to the future, working on updating the university plan that involves tearing down single story buildings like Marshburn Hall to build multi-level buildings with basements and selling the Grove modules after all buildings on the plan are finished.

The university plan also includes the Arts and Science building and a multi-purpose building. Bascom said University Planning wants to make the building either an events center or a fine arts performing center. The building will need to hold at least 5,000 people. It would wrap around three parking lots near the Bookstore and Soubirou and would require the music and worship building to be torn down.

“It’s behind other buildings [like the Arts and Science building] in priority, no higher than fifth on priority lists,” Bascom said.

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