Santa Fe adds new parking lot

Workers construct a parking lot over the soccer field at Santa Fe Community College. The soccer field will be relocated just south of the new parking lot.

Doug Finger/The Gainesville Sun
Published: Saturday, January 26, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, January 26, 2008 at 12:09 a.m.

Santa Fe Community College has begun creating a parking lot out of the soccer field and the green area where a giant American flag waves over Interstate 75.


SFCC enrollment, fall 2007

  • SFCC enrollment, fall 2007

  • Northwest Campus: 13,964

  • Open Campus/Internet: 3,510

  • Blount Downtown Center: 1,331

  • Institute of Public Safety: 982

  • Watson Center/Keystone Heights: 340

  • Andrews Center/Starke: 336

  • Davis Center/Archer: Peak enrollment at Northwest campus


  • Class time Enrollment

  • 9 a.m. 3,530

  • 11 a.m. 3,957

  • 1 p.m. 3,539

  • 3:30 p.m. 1,815

  • 5:30 p.m. 1,310

  • 7 p.m. 1,602&

SFCC officials are also considering adding even more parking on the north end of the Northwest Campus.

SFCC has 4,074 parking spaces for its students, faculty and staff. During peak class times on Tuesdays at noon, approximately 4,000 students are scheduled to be in a class. Another 6,500 students attend classes on the Internet or at satellite locations.

The parking lot projects are progressing at the same time that SFCC is gathering data for its role as a pilot location for the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System. The program is voluntary and is being developed by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education.

SFCC President Jackson Sasser said he is sensitive to concerns about how much of the Northwest Campus is being paved.

"My goal is to not create another parking space," Sasser said. "Just imagine what this would be like if we had not added the satellite campuses. Even with those, in 10 years we will probably need a shuttle service for off-campus parking."

The 228 new parking spaces being created on the former soccer field are replacing parking spaces lost when an annex was added to the health sciences building. The new lot is scheduled to be completed by the end of May. The soccer field, which had been used primarily for intramural games, is being relocated adjacent to the softball diamond and is expected to be usable by early summer.

One way to reduce the amount of space devoted to parking is to construct parking garages, but Sasser said that idea is too expensive. Sasser said parking spaces cost $5,000 to $6,000 in parking garages, which is two to three times more than parking lot spaces cost.

Another possibility being considered is to construct pervious parking lot surfaces that would allow rainwater to flow through. A pervious surface that intrigues Sasser is one constructed with a series of bricks spaced a few inches apart and hard packed soil between the bricks.

Roadblocks to constructing pervious parking surfaces are the State Requirements for Educational Facilities, which are administered by the Florida Department of Education.

According to Bill Reese, SFCC's associate vice president for facilities, pervious parking surfaces currently available do not meet the state's requirement that parking lots for educational facilities be handicapped accessible.

"We are asking for an exemption for pervious parking space for a secondary parking lot we want to develop north of the tree line that is on the north side of North Road," Reese said. "We could use something like gravel or grass there to minimize the impact."

In addition to minimizing the environmental impact, Reese said there is a financial consideration involved with developing additional parking. When SFCC began planning the new parking lot on the south end of campus, the price was estimated at $1,400 a space.

"It's probably over $2,500 a space now because anything to do with petroleum - like the asphalt, and running diesel equipment - has gotten a lot more expensive," Reese said.

SFCC will soon be deciding exactly where and how to build another parking lot.

Dozens of existing spaces will disappear within a few months when ground is broken on a $17 million fine arts hall on the east side of the campus.

Karen Voyles can be reached at 352-359-5656 or

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