State College, PA - Centre County - Central Pennsylvania - Home of Penn State University

Possible New Parking Garage Proposed Before Borough Council

by on May 15, 2012 6:00 AM

The Pugh Street Parking Garage lives – for another five years, at least.

State College Borough Parking Manager Charles DeBow presented tentative plans for the future of downtown State College's parking garages – including Beaver Avenue, Fraser Street and Pugh Street – before the Borough Council at a work session Monday night.

Council dedicated significant time to its recently released proposed Capital Improvement Plan for 2013-2017.

Renovation of some parking garages and even the potential construction of a new one coinciding with the destruction of another were discussed, as Debow explained costs and necessary steps.

Following the advice and findings of two engineering firms, DeBow said the Pugh Street garage is at the end of its "useful life." While still safe, the cost of maintaining it through repairs and upgrades would exceed the cost of building an entirely new garage, DeBow said.

The idea is to build the new garage in a separate location as opposed to building it right over the current location. Given the tentative nature of the proposal, no site has been flagged as the location of the new parking garage, nor are there plans for what would replace the Pugh Street parking garage.

A parking study was conducted in effort to anticipate demands of the current parking system as well as future needs, size and location of a new garage.

DeBow said he was faced with three options regarding the Pugh Street garage:

  • Option 1: Spend $50,000 and carry the garage through 2018, albeit with few risks
  • Option 2: Spend $350,000 to assure the garage's usefulness through 2018, possibly even 2019 and 2020, were it needed
  • Option 3: Spend $1.5 million to carry out a complete overhaul of the entire garage that would extend its useful life through 2021.

In the end, DeBow said the second option proved best because it allows the borough to extend the useful life of the garage but does not limit its ability to plan the future garage.

The money the borough will save by taking the $350,000 option can be rolled into the new garage.

Currently, the time frame for building a new garage is five to six years, and DeBow said he has been careful to ensure there will be an overlap and no chance for the Pugh Street parking garage's useful life to run out before a new garage is built.

Ideally, there would be a new garage built, open and operating before the Pugh Street garage is closed, he said.

DeBow said all of the tenants have been notified. Their leases run through the duration of the garage's useful life, and they may even have the option of renewing their lease past 2015 if they so choose.

Broken down, the costs associated each of the garages in downtown State College are as follows:

  • Beaver parking garage – $40,000 in 2013 and $300,000 in 2014;
  • Pugh Street parking garage – $40,000 in 2017;
  • Fraser Street parking garage/McAllister maintenance – $35,000 in 2015 and $450,000 in 2016

Per work session, no decisions are made but the proposals will be revisited at a later date.

Related coverage:

Laura Nichols is a news reporter and @LC_Nichols on Twitter.
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