AHN Growing in the Right Direction

 Raimo and the supervisor Jay  walking onto the construction to check the process of the construction site. 
Photo Credit: Riley Gillis

Raimo and the supervisor Jay walking onto the construction to check the process of the construction site. Photo Credit: Riley Gillis

Jacqueline Brooker, Senior Staff Writer

Academy of the Holy Names students live all over the Tampa Bay area and sometimes have to commute from a number of locations close or far.  With the number of Academy commuter students growing, parking and the amount of available spots is a hot issue among the AHN community. AHN students are anxious about the future AHN parking garage and can’t wait to park in the final result.

BECK construction uses a cane to help build AHN's future parking garage. PhotoCredit: Riley Gillis
Construction company BECK brings in a  crane to help build AHN’s future parking garage.
Credit: Riley Gillis

Four years ago, when Arthur Raimo, President of Academy of the Holy Names,  first started working at Academy, he noticed there was a need for more parking spaces and a parking garage. Raimo realized the need for more parking spaces whenever Academy welcomed guest speakers or had a special event. Raimo struggled with the idea to get more spaces on ground without  taking away an element from the school, such as track or the tennis courts. Raimo and Harvard-Jolly  came to the realization that  building a parking garage could be the answer to this problem. The architectural work for the parking garage is being done by Harvard-Jolly and the builders are BECK. Academy is building the 230-space parking garage as well as 30 additional parking spaces behind the future Arts building to address the parking shortage. Academy currently now has 139 parking spaces for students to park in and when the final product of the parking garage is complete, Academy will have 121 more.

PGP3
BECK construction workers make sure the support bars of the parking garage are up to code standards and are safe. Credit: Riley Gillis

Raimo and a committee conducted several interviews and reviewed many proposals from potential builders and finally decided that the companies BECK and Harvard-Jolly were the right companies to work with on this project. Harvard-Jolly designed the the garage and the center of the arts, and BECK is the general contractor for the project.  Raimo and the committee want the best for AHN students so Raimo searched for the best companies to work with for this project.

 

Raimo is most excited that AHN will be able to accommodate all the students with a parking pass and that each students will be assigned a number space designed for them to park in.
“The parking garage is scheduled to  have the finishing touches over Christmas break,” Raimo explains. When students, faculty, and staff return to school on January 5, 2016,  AHN students should be able to park in the garage.  Other than Raimo’s predictions and hopes for the parking garages, AHN girls shared and expressed what they hope what the parking garage will be and their overall feelings towards the parking garage.  

Junior Katherine Reit, is very excited and eager to see the final product of the parking garage: “ I’m excited for the future parking garage  because I think it’s a good idea to have one and hopefully the garage will be roomy and have a lot of available parking spaces for students. I believe the new parking garage will help create less drama between AHN seniors and underclassmen, because we know all students want to be able to drive and park at school.”

One concern of many AHN students, faculty, and local residents in the Tampa Bay area, is the traffic on MacDill and whether or not the parking garage will create even more traffic. In regards to possible traffic issues, Reitz shared how she feels. “I feel like in the morning it will decrease traffic, but during the afternoon, everyone will want to get out which is going to create a lot more traffic on MacDill and in the parking lot.”

However, Raimo believes the parking garage will not have a negative effect the traffic on MacDill because “it’s the same amount of students; just a different parking location and it requires less students to be dropped off at school.”

Another issue of concern towards the future parking garage is the possible outcomes of car accidents. The level of teen accidents every year is always very high and of course parents and family are concerned about student safety and the possibility of accidents .

Reitz expressed her thoughts on chances of accidents due to the  parking garage.  “I think there will be more accidents with the parking garage. There will be more space for cars which is great. However, accidents happen and parking lots are a popular place for them. Also, if the garage will be attracting more students to drive to school, that’s more cars raising the probabilities of car accidents.”

Construction workers filling in the bottom level pavement of the parking garage. PhotoCredit: Riley Gillis
Construction workers filling in the bottom level pavement of the parking garage.
Credit: Riley Gillis

Along with traffic and accidents, Another main issue of concern is the experience that AHN girl’s have regarding  parking and driving in parking garages. A  lot of students are not used to the flow of parking garages or have the maneuverability required when weaving in and out of  a parking garage.  This can be a hassle and may cause AHN girls to require assistance.

View from the top level of the future parking garage. The pink flags represent the dry part of the pavement, and the pouring/smoothing of concrete. PhotoCredit: Riley Gillis
View from the top level of the future parking garage. The pink flags represent the dry part of the pavement, and the pouring/smoothing of concrete. Credit: Riley Gillis

Ramio explained how there will be security personnel available to help the AHN students get acquainted with the parking garage and help make sure AHN students stay safe. Raimo also explained his plan of action for security for the parking garage, “At night, and especially during school events, the parking garage will be well lit.”  There will also be security personnel for during the day and night. 

 

PGP7
Top view of completed level parking garage. Credit: Riley Gillis