Longwood University has changed its parking plans for the 2019-2020 academic year due to the upcoming construction that will commence on the new convocation center, slated to open by the spring of 2022.
On April 10, Longwood announced on their website that a new convocation and events center would be built after philanthropist and former student Joan Brock donated $15 million to the university. The new center will be placed right next to Willett Hall, the current home of the men’s and women’s basketball teams. Due to this, the tennis courts, which are located in the same spot, had to be relocated.
The tennis courts will be moved to the South Wynne lot, which sits next to Buddy Bolding Stadium and is currently fenced off in order to make way for the tennis courts to be built. This has forced Longwood to change the parking plans for this school year, in order to accommodate the construction as well as the residential and commuter students that used to park in that area.
The South Wynne lot was previously used for students living on main campus with a resident pass, as well as visitors who came to the university. Now that this is not an option anymore, those affected have to find a new place to park.
Matthew McGregor, associate vice president of auxiliary services and wellness at Longwood, said, “Some of the space will come back, they just need it during the construction phase."
McGregor added, "The gravel area in the middle of the lot on Pine Street“.
Due to the smaller number of upperclassmen students living on campus this year, the need for residential parking spaces decreased. Residential students are able to park in the Wynne Tiers behind the Clark House and at the Longwood Landings behind the northeast and southeast buildings if Wynne has filled up.
They did lose almost 100 commuter parking spots when Wynne became fenced off, but they were able to gain a few more spots back from other parking areas on and around campus.
McGregor said, “We switched Hooper St. from residential to commuter, added 10 spots in the Upper Frazer lot and made Putney St. commuter, so we gained around 30 to 40 spaces.”
He added there are always spaces for students to park throughout the day as well as on the weekends and so far, they have not had any issues despite losing some parking spaces.
As for visitor spaces, there is a parking garage located below Brock Commons that can be used when there are not enough spaces in Wynne. The parking garage has 130 spaces for people who are coming in the evenings or for special events such as basketball games. You do not need a pass to park there, but it is not intended for anyone to park in overnight.
As far as parking spaces surrounding the convocation center goes, they are still in the process of deciding where they will go.
McGregor said, “We still need to study the area and decide what to do accordingly once construction is further along on the building.”
Until then, people are encouraged to park in the Wynne lots or down behind Midtown near the Longwood Landings, which is within walking distance to campus. Students and visitors can also access the university’s master plan which includes graphics that show where they are able to park now and over the course of the next few years.