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Parking woes: Wesleyan to add new lot with construction of $5M residence hall

Vehicles line McGovern Avenue in front of the Glenda K. Corrigan Health Sciences Center building on Wednesday morning on Dakota Wesleyan University's campus. (Matt Gade / Republic)

Drivers to Dakota Wesleyan University's campus will soon have more parking spots for the picking.

With the construction of a new, nearly $5 million residence hall, the university has plans to add a parking lot behind an existing building. According to Theresa Kriese, executive vice president at Dakota Wesleyan, a large empty space between Koka Hall on the northwestern edge of campus will be paved into a lot.

"Between that and the existing parking that we have, we'll be able to handle that dorm," Kriese said. "I'm not worried about any parking issues."

The three-story residence hall, which is also planned for the northwestern part of campus, will be coed, as well as fit 114 students. A completion date is set for Aug. 1, before the fall 2018 semester begins.

The reason for adding a new facility was to accommodate for Dakota Wesleyan's growing enrollment, which reached a record-breaking 918 students last fall.

Though the increase of students led to the construction of the facility, Kriese doesn't foresee a need for more parking. Dakota Wesleyan currently has nine parking lots on campus available, and the lot at the DWU/Avera Sports and Wellness Complex.

But for some residents who live in the area surrounding the Dakota Wesleyan campus, parking still remains a top concern.

Laura Earl, who lives across the street from the new residence hall construction site, said parking is a worry she and her neighbors share. Earl said they are often unable to park on the street overnight, because of the amount of students who park their vehicles in the streets.

"With a dorm that size and with that many students staying there, where will they all be parking? There currently isn't a parking lot for that will accommodate that number of students," Earl said.

With the announcement of the new lot, Earl hopes this will change. But, despite the addition of the new parking lot behind Koka Hall, Kriese said students still may use street parking around the campus.

"We will encourage them to use our parking lot," Kriese said. "And, we still have spaces in our other lots. They may not have a front space like everybody wants, but we'll have adequate parking."

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