The parking lot construction where Fouts Field formerly stood is set to be completed in the next couple of weeks, adding 1,000 spots for resident and commuter students and 100 spots for faculty and staff.
The construction began in November of 2018 with the destruction of Fouts Field.
“It is mostly complete,” UNT senior communications strategist Margarita Venegas said. “There are a few things that are still going on. There’s some sidewalk additions. You’ll notice when you drive by the Fouts Field Lot 20 area that there is a big part of the front lot that is still closed off. There are about 400 spaces in that area that asphalt needs to be laid down and needs to be re-striped.”
The final phase of the project is to add features that aim to help people easily find parking.
“The final phase of it will be adding signage to the poles in the area so that we can have a better way [of] finding in [and around] Fouts Field,” Venegas said. “Signs like, ‘section one,’ so you know where your car is parked.”
Another aspect of this construction project was to renovate the bus station that was already there.
“The station is covered and it’s got a kind of a fenced off area that gives a dedicated lane for the buses so that the lane can handle multiple buses stopping in that area,” Venegas said. “It’s got a longer waiting area so that things don’t get too crowded. They do have restrooms out there. We do have the ability to put up some TV screens in that area so that in the future we might be able to communicate important information to students as they wait.”
Part of that renovation involved the icons depicted on the back of the station.
“Those actually came from the old Fouts Field stadium,” Venegas said. “They were medallions that were on the stadium itself, and so we wanted to preserve those to make sure that they lived somewhere in the area to kind of commemorate Fouts Field. It was important for us to preserve that history.”
Converged broadcast media senior Tai Tran has been parking in Lot 20 for the last two years as a commuter student.
“I think that UNT students have been requesting more parking spaces and I believe that the transportation department gave us what we needed,” Tran said. “However, the hustle and bustle of the first week of school still showed that even with the space provided, there is still not enough to accommodate. Traffic is congested on campus, and finding a space to park sometimes doubles your commute time.”
Venegas said the goal for the project was not only to see students take advantage of the added spaces, but to also build a stronger relationship with students.
“We want people to park there, but we also know that that doesn’t just happen overnight,” Venegas said. “It just doesn’t happen that easily. So I think what we’ve learned, and what we’re hoping to have going forward, is to be able to establish a better relationship with students so that we can communicate to them, not just things like, ‘Here’s where to park’ and that kind of stuff, but to show them that we are paying attention to their needs.”
Part of building that relationship is being able to be more active on social media, Venegas said.
“Honestly, when I responded to a tweet that transportation sent, I thought they wouldn’t respond,” Tran said. “However, within minutes I received a response.”
Biology sophomore Maizie Hart has been parking in Lot 20 since before construction began last year.
“I think transportation being active in social media to talk to students is helpful because I feel like most people, me included, don’t like sending emails or calling,” Hart said. “So when someone voices their opinion on Twitter and transportation sees it and can respond or consider what the students actually think, they can maybe offer advice.”
Featured Image: A new parking lot takes the space that was once occupied by Fouts Field. The new lot will include more than 1,000 parking spots. Image by Quincy Palmer