Possible Solution ? Nearby student homes to be bulldozed for parking

Ellen Nelson

Ellen Nelson

Some students will not be able to return to their current residences next fall because a parking lot will replace those houses.

The SDSU Foundation has purchased residential property on the 700 Block of 12th and 13th avenues in Brookings in order to create a parking lot on the south side of campus.

The Foundation has been working with ten different property owners of 12th and 13th avenues since January, but some negotiations still need to take place.

“The idea came about last fall and might take another year to close the deal,” said Wesley Tschetter, associate vice president of finance and business.

The South Dakota Board of Regents will also be looking at the proposal at its next meeting.

“Plans and approval of the layout and design of the parking lot will be made official at the Board of Regents meeting at the School of Mines in Rapid City in mid-October,” said Bob Otterson, executive assistant to the president.

Once the BOR discusses and approves the details of the new parking lot, more information will be available to students, he said.

The main goal of this new parking area is to get parking areas moved from the center of the campus, Tschetter said.

“Twelfth and 13th avenues were the only and best option, considering the campus location and close proximity to several features that SDSU and Brookings have to offer,” said Tschetter.

As the number of incoming college students increases, SDSU has seen the number of incoming freshmen, transfer students and graduate students surpassing records set in the past.

According to the SDSU Web site, 13,600 students could be on the Brookings campus by 2012.

SDSU is making plans to expand parking facilities to help prepare for this record-breaking number of students.

Though it would create more parking spaces for the campus, the Foundation’s purchase of sections on 12th and 13th avenues has left some residents of the area with no choice but to find a new place to live next year.

Matt Eklo, a senior construction management student, said his landlord told him and his other roommates that they would need to move out.

“Late last March, our landlord told us that SDSU had bought the land where our house was and once our lease is up this May, they plan on tearing it down and turning it into a parking lot,” said Eklo.

A few houses have already been torn down near Crothers Engineering Hall, marking the plans’ progress.

“We’ve all been told that this is the last year that we can live here,” said Charlie Hildebrand, a senior journalism major and Eklo’s roommate.

“We’re not too upset about it, to be honest, but SDSU is getting rid of a lot of homes close to campus, so others who live nearby are definitely affected by this as well,” said Hildebrand.