Committee to consider parking garage

Butler University’s Board of Trustees endorsed the recommendation of the trustee facilities committee to work with Keystone Group to develop a plan for a mixed-use parking garage on campus.

Butler’s facilities committee will work with the Keystone Group to develop a facility that could add 300 beds and 1,000 parking spots to campus behind the Howard Schrott Center for the Performing and Visual Arts.

The committee will spend the next two months meeting with Keystone to discuss the project’s details and financial impact.

Committee members will meet with the Butler-Tarkington Neighborhood Association next month to get feedback and input as they work to develop the facility’s plan.

“The neighborhood is very important to us,” Ben Hunter, chief of staff and a committee member, said. “We have to make sure they’re part of the discussion along the way.”

In December, the committee will meet with the Board of Trustees to possibly present a final proposal.

Keystone was one of 12 developers that responded to the university’s proposal last April. Of those 12, five were asked to submit proposals.

The committee graded each plan on specific criteria, including the environmental impact, sustainability and accessibility of each proposal.

Members then whittled the group down to three candidates who participated in a question-and-answer session and further interviews.

Kite Realty Group and Lauth Property Group were the other developments vying for the project.

“We couldn’t have been wrong with any of the three groups,” Hunter said.

What set Keystone apart, Hunter said, is that the group considered the campus’s layout, pedestrian walkways and street traffic.

“They really took a holistic approach to this proposal,” Hunter said. “It stood out and matched the historic feel of the campus and the neighborhood.”

Though the project is just past its first stages, Hunter said there is still work to be done and that nothing is set in stone, including the cost and the timeline of construction.

Hunter said that if the Board of Trustees decides to approve the project in December, construction could start as soon as spring 2013.

“We are going slower than other institutions might,” Hunter said. “But it’s our first time on working to build a structure like this one.”

The 1,000 parking spots would offset a parking shortage that the university has worked to address.

This year, parking was added behind Clowes Memorial Hall and faculty parking was added in front of the Fairbanks Center.

The extra 1,000 spots would bring the total number of parking spots on campus to about 4,000.

It is not yet known how much the facility would cost to build.

The 2012-13 Budget Forecast, which was presented to Faculty Senate members during Tuesday’s meeting, said that the cost of the consulting stage was $40,000.

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