Acquired lot may not be for parking

By Emily Larkin, Managing and Online Editor

When Newman purchased the adjacent Koons Salvage Yard, many students thought it would be solely for parking. Though there will be some room to park, most of the area could turn into a “green space,” Director of Facilities Bruce Sanderson said.

Despite these previous notions, Sanderson says bigger ideas are potentially at hand.

“Right now, we’ve requested some bids from a company called Cedars to give us some preliminary drawings on maybe how we could incorporate a ‘green space’ into the area,” he said. “I don’t think all of that needs to be parking.”

Sanderson said the green space would be a grassy area that could hold commodities, such as a walking trail along a berm with trees and benches, a hammock farm or an exercise area.

Since the area is close to an acre, Sanderson said, they would have to evaluate all of the costs when they receive the preliminary plan.

“We have to see what we can do. What would it cost to have irrigation put in because we don’t have water there, and what would it cost to add grass?” Sanderson said. “Being a former salvage yard, it does not have a solid concrete slab that all the cars sat on. So, there’s rock here, asphalt millings over here, concrete, and an old pool foundation.”

Though they have evaluated many plans, Sanderson said that the employees at Cedars have been looking toward ways to reuse what is already left on the land.

“One of the thoughts he’s had is scraping all the dirt off and building a berm around Kellogg with trees to screen the highway noise.”

Junior Fugate resident Dakota Heard said he thinks there are pros and cons to the idea.

“It’s an interesting concept because there is nothing green over here, but the highway is nearby, which could become an issue,” Heard said.

Newman University made an agreement to buy the Koons Salvage Yard lot on Jan. 26.

One concern administration had when buying the property was the usability after so many years as a salvage yard.

“We had phase one and phase two environmental studies done when we purchased the property to make sure it wasn’t a contaminated area,” Sanderson said.

There are also two buildings on the property that Sanderson is looking into the possibility of demolishing.  

“Cedars is more looking at it as a green space than a parking lot, but I think we could attach some parking onto the west gravel parking lot of Fugate; it would still be separate from the green space.”

Sanderson said he has had experience with how much new parking lots can cost.

“I have done new parking lots and the last one I did cost $1,100 per space. So, with 40 parking spaces that would be $44,000, by the time you base it with rock and then go through asphalt layers. We’re still determining what would be the best use of that property.”

Fugate resident assistant Madison McCollum said that she is not sure that the lot would be an ideal location for a green space.

“Though I enjoy the thought of not having to take the long walk to patio, I have concerns about the loud highway honking in my ear,” she said.

Sanderson said the timeline is now tentative on the quotes that they get and from there what they decide to use the money on, but they should have an idea within the next few weeks.

Photo: THE LOT BEHIND FUGATE will likely become mostly a green space, and not a whole extra parking lot. Tyler Pollard, Staff Photographer.