SALEM — Salem State officials have announced three possible locations for the school’s proposed 800-space parking garage and say a final decision on the site could be made within weeks.
Parking has long been an issue for the school, and the demand for spots has grown with its recent flurry of development projects. Adding to the demand are two dormitories that have opened over the past decade; a third is scheduled to be completed by late next year.
“Parking has been the third rail at Salem State for a long time, as with any urban campus,” said university spokesperson Karen Cady. “As we have developed more, parking has been much more of an issue. ... Long term, we clearly need a parking structure.”
The first proposed location for the garage is in the area of the parking lot next to Peabody Hall in the north campus, Cady said.
The second possibility is in the vicinity of the O’Keefe complex, at the current site of the parking lot near Canal Street and Forest Avenue.
The third option is in the vicinity of Atlantic Hall in central campus, at least partially on an area now used for parking near the tennis courts.
Details about the garage itself are scant at this point; Cady said the location will determine its design. Nevertheless, the structure is expected to be built by fall 2015, right around the same time Viking Hall, the new dormitory, is slated to open.
“We’re really fast-tracking this,” Cady said.
The school is hosting two meetings today about the garage, which will cost around $16 million to build. A representative of Desman Associates, the project’s Boston-based architectural and consultancy firm, is expected to attend each, and he or she will gather input from members of the public and school community.