COC breaks ground on new parking structure

Chancellor Van Hook joins student trustee Tabitha Kumar and others as they break ground Thursday on the College of the Canyon's new parking structure that's planned to open in Spring 2019.

After the loss of 700 parking spaces in early March, College of the Canyons students had mixed feelings on the construction of a new parking garage at the Valencia campus.

Those feelings appear to be resolved as students gathered Thursday to watch construction crews and Chancellor Dianne G. Van Hook break ground on a new structure expected to add nearly 1,000 spaces to the campus’ current maximum parking capacity.

“More parking at COC equates to more benefits for the college as a whole,” student trustee Tabitha Kumar said at the groundbreaking ceremony. “We all know a little too well that the walk down from the UCEN to the Student Center is a week’s worth of exercise.”

Due to construction and the closure of parking lot 7, some of the 32,000 enrolled students on-campus have felt added pressure to find parking prior to their classes.

“We’re all great at managing the time it takes for parking,” Kumar joked, “but we’re even better at explaining to our teachers that we’re late to class because we couldn’t find parking.”

Additional parking in the new parking structure ensures students will have easier access to the college and campus, Kumar said, leaving students to no longer have to worry about being late to class due to parking difficulties.

A rendering of the College of the Canyons Valencia Campus parking structure shows what it will look like from the side facing Cougar Stadium. It will accommodate 1,659 cars, including 50 charging stations for electric vehicles. It is scheduled to open in February 2019.

The new parking structure will be located at the corner of Valencia Boulevard and Rockwell Canyon road where parking lot 7 was located. Officials said the tri-level structure is designed to be at street level on the side closest to Rockwell Canyon Road.

“Isn’t it neat?” Van Hook asked Thursday’s attendees. “It could be mistaken for a medical building.”

The structure is expected to have a capacity for approximately 1,660 vehicles and cost a little more than $21 million, which will be paid with funds from 2016’s Measure E, according to a news release.

“Here’s to no longer having to circle the parking lot for 2 hours to find a spot,” Kumar said. “Here is to no longer pouncing on the first student we see walking to their car.”

“We have taken a number of steps to help students commute or find parking during this temporary parking shortage,” according to school’s website. Students are now eligible for free parking after 2 p.m., and are encouraged to use a carpool parking lot or off-campus parking.

Lyft and Uber discounts have also been handed out by the school, but students are eager for the Spring 2019 semester when they will reap the benefits of their uniquely designed garage.

“I look forward to the positive impact that these parking spaces will have on our students,” Kumar said.

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