Parking ramp construction begins May 19

Here's a look at the ramp's northeast tower.

Parking ramp construction begins May 19

Construction will begin Monday, May 19, on the Anderson Parking Facility on the tennis courts near the southwest corner of Cretin and Grand Avenues.

Ryan Companies, the architect and contractor for the 725-car ramp, will prepare the site by closing the two Cretin entrances and exits to the south campus, closing lots N, T, U and a portion of Lot O, and installing a construction fence around the site.

The Cretin-Grand drive will be closed until late August and the Cretin entrance and exit north of the softball field will be eliminated. Motorists and bicyclists this summer should enter and leave the south campus from the Summit Avenue service drive west of Loras Hall.

Demolition of the tennis courts and further site preparation will begin around May 22, with excavation the following three weeks. The five-level ramp includes one level below grade. Footings will be poured and a tower crane will be erected in mid-June.

The ramp will take about nine months to complete, depending on weather conditions. St. Thomas has not decided when it will open the ramp, but expects that to be during the spring semester. Permit and guest fees for the ramp have not been determined.

Ryan will make improvements to the Cretin-Grand intersection in June by creating the following:

  • Two turn lanes on Cretin at Grand – a northbound left-hand turn lane into the south campus and a southbound left-hand turn lane onto eastbound Grand. The city will not use left-hand turn arrows initially but will add them later if necessary.
  • Two northbound lanes on Cretin between Lincoln and Summit. This will be accomplished by prohibiting parking at all times on the east side of Cretin between Lincoln and Grand and removing about three feet of boulevard between Grand and the alley north of Grand.
  • Three southbound lanes on Cretin as drivers approach Grand. The left lane, as noted above, will be an exclusive left-hand turn lane onto eastbound Grand. The middle lane will be a through lane. The right lane will double as a through lane and a right-hand turn lane into the campus.
  • A partial second southbound Cretin lane south of Grand. Motorists continuing south on Cretin initially will be in one of two lanes, which will merge into one lane before Lincoln.

City crews will install new traffic lights at Cretin and Grand by late June, including the pedestrian “countdown” feature recently added to the lights at Cretin and Summit.

Ryan expects 20-40 employees on the construction site during May and June, with activity increasing to 50-70 employees from July through November and declining to 20-40 in December and January. Crew members will park in Lot T north of McCarthy Gymnasium and Lot O southwest of McCarthy until November, when they will park in the lower level of the ramp.

St. Thomas will lose about 150 surface parking spaces in Lots N and U because they are within the ramp construction footprint or will be used as part of the Ryan staging area. In addition, Ryan employees will use 20-70 spaces in Lots O and T until November.

The lost spaces are not expected to present a problem during the summer because ample parking is available elsewhere on campus. St. Thomas believes it will have sufficient parking on the south and main campuses during fall semester to handle spaces lost to construction.

The ramp is named for Lee and Penny Anderson, who have made a $60 million gift to the university for construction of a new student center and the ramp and the improvements to athletic and recreational facilities. Lee Anderson is on the St. Thomas Board of Trustees.