Howard Community College Alleviates Parking Challenges with New Parking Garage
Columbia, Maryland – January 27, 2017 – As enrollment increased nearly 45 percent over the past decade, Howard Community College’s parking infrastructure could no longer keep pace with demand. Parking became the number one concern among students and employees, and the college committed to investing in new parking to alleviate challenges. After one year of construction, a new 736-space expansion of the college’s existing East Garage will open on Monday, January 30, just in time for the start of the spring semester.
Dr. Hetherington and members of the Board of Trustees joined Howard County elected officials, business leaders, faculty, staff, and students today for a ceremonial ribbon cutting. In honor of the year the college opened, the event also featured an employee and the college mascot driving through the garage in a restored 1970 Ford Torino GT.
“The college is excited to celebrate the expansion of the East Garage. By alleviating parking challenges, the college is helping students on their pathways to success,” said Dr. Kathleen Hetherington, president of Howard Community College. “Thank you to the college’s staff, our partners at Howard County government, and the architects, engineers, and construction managers for ensuring this garage opened on time for spring classes.”
The celebration marked the successful completion of a $16.4 million project that began planning in the summer of 2012, with major construction commencing in February 2016. The college put $6 million toward the project, with $2.7 million from Howard County. Additional funding comes from a $7.7 million bond sale, which is supported by the county, and will be repaid to the county from student fees.
Among the features of the new garage are a new access road directly from Little Patuxent Parkway to help alleviate congestion and delays entering campus and to promote more efficient access to parking. The garage also has a covered pedestrian bridge for safe access from the garage to the campus.
The original East Garage opened in 2006 with 518 spaces. The college’s 723-space West Garage opened in 2011. In addition to these two garages, the college instituted a number of measures to assist with the lack of adequate on-campus parking. A shuttle transported students back and forth from as many as three off-campus satellite parking locations. Other actions included encouraging carpooling, asking employees to park further away to free up garage spaces for students, and selling Howard Transit passes to encourage use of public transportation. The new East Garage expansion has more parking spaces than what was available at the off-campus satellite parking lots, so the college no longer uses these locations and has discontinued the shuttle.According to its facilities master plan, the college has planned another parking garage for construction in 2025, depending on budget funding and future campus needs.