BREAKING: New living options to become available next Spring
After years of hearing complaints about the walk from Towson Center to the University Union, the University has finally decided to make parking more accessible to students.
However, it comes at a cost. Glen Towers B, C and D, along with the Glen Dining Hall, will be replaced by a new 1,500-space garage sponsored by Marriott Hotels.
The Towers and dining hall will be torn down this summer, with construction on the garage taking place over the fall in time for the spring 2015 semester.
In order to make up for the loss of beds, students will have the option to sleep in their cars in the innovative parking/living space during the school year. Students choosing this option will still be required to pay full room and board, but will receive a $50 deduction off of their parking pass fee.
Freshman Mildred “Mandy” Gates said she is excited for the new amenities.
“I look at this as a learning experience. I am really hoping to become more in-touch with nature. Because of that, I plan to request a roof space,” Gates said.
All the spaces in the garage will be designated for students living in their cars. However, the University will keep the number of residence spaces in Towsontown and West Village the same.
“We think this is the best use of the University’s resources,” Director of Parking and Transportation services Pam Mooney said. “Frankly, our office got tired of seeing so many columns in The Towerlight about how much parking stinks, so we decided to do something about it. Of course, it does come at a price. Our office is excited about this bold new experiment, it will save us a lot of money in the long run so we can decrease student fees.”
There will be a dirty white van with tinted windows designated for students looking for a quiet place to study, this is also where the one designated RA will reside.
An RA currently working in Prettyman will be chosen to be the new van RA.
“I really hope that I can be the first RA in this innovative system. No other University has a living and learning opportunity like this. I think this will bring students A LOT closer together,” Raynd Vayns said.
In order to save on gas and help Towson with its sustainability initiatives, students can receive another $50 off of their parking pass if they choose to share a large gray van with at least five other students.
The van must be gray to receive this discount.
For students that do not have vehicles, the University has developed a creative solution to accommodate them.
“Each group of two spaces not occupied by a car or gray van will come with a tent, with a cot under each tent,” Mooney said. “We figured students could take shifts sleeping on the cot. We recommend students take three-hour shifts.”
Mooney has planned an interactive demonstration of the new living space with other members of parking and transportation.
Members of parking and transportation will sleep under the tent for one night, and one night only. Students will be allowed to observe the demonstration in order to prepare for the transition.
As is the case with the other garages on campus, students with electric or hybrid vehicles will receive priority parking spots and a free continental breakfast provided by Marriott on the weekends to encourage environmental awareness.
In order to make up for the loss of bathroom facilities when the Towers are torn down, the University will be installing gender-neutral showers and portable toilets for students in the Marriott garage to use.
The toilets and showers will be located on the roof of the garage. The roof of the garage will not be enclosed, and there are some concerns from students about potential weather hazards, specifically windy days.
“What if my towel gets blown off?” sophomore Dustin McGlynn said. “It would really cut into my free time if I have to walk down three flights of stairs just to grab my towel. I think the showers would be better on the first floor.”
Even though he has to use portable toilets, Michaelangelo Nort, a chemistry and biology double-major, said he is looking forward to staying in the Marriott garage.
“I always see the extra spots near Towson Center, and I just think to myself, ‘Is it worth it?’ and usually the answer is ‘No,’” Nort said. “So, I figured it’s just more productive for me to live out of my car than driving around the Union garage looking for a spot. I usually end up spending more time looking for a spot than it would take to park up at the Towson Center and walk to class, but I still think it’s worth it.”
The Towerlight will update this story as more information becomes available.