FCC’s New Parking Structure Becoming Reality After it’s Groundbreaking Ceremony

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Photo Courtesy of Fresno City College’s Instagram page.

Story By: Julie Chavez, News Editor

For decades Fresno City College students and staff have found parking to be such a hassle. With the construction of a new parking structure, that will add over 850 new parking stalls, FCC officials hope parking will be less of a problem. 

On the morning of Tuesday Oct. 20, FCC and State Center Community College District officials held the groundbreaking ceremony for FCC’s new parking structure. 

Since COVID-19 restrictions limited the amount of personnel allowed to attend in-person, the ceremony was live-streamed via FCC’s Facebook page

Although the new parking structure will be located on E. Cambridge Avenue, the groundbreaking ceremony took place near the former SCCCD office at 1525 E. Weldon Ave. 

During the ceremony, FCC President Carole Goldsmith alongside many others took time to thank all those who were involved in the approval and planning of the new parking structure.

“This parking structure has taken decades to get here. In fact, I was talking with a few trustees and council members about their stories when they came to FCC and there was a parking challenge,” said Goldsmith.

“Today because of the support of the voters of  Measure C and our trustees taking a chance on doing something different, going vertical, that reality will now become part of our history.” 

Photo courtesy of Fresno City College’s Twitter page

In June of 2016, voters passed a Measure C bond that gave the SCCCD $485 million to use for improvements at all the community college campuses and centers within the district.

Of that $485 million, $20 million has gone towards the construction of FCC’s new parking structure that costs $18.3 million. 

The remaining amount of money will go towards offsite work, according to SCCCD officials. 

The new structure will have a total of five parking levels with approximately 862 total parking stalls and 40 electric vehicle charging stations as well as 126 additional parking stalls adjacent to the structure itself.

The existing parking lot, where the new structure will be built, will also be redesigned to make them more efficient in terms of spacing. 

Construction has begun and is expected to be completed by December 2021, according to an email sent out to FCC students on Oct. 13 informing them about the groundbreaking. 

Most FCC students are excited about this project including current FCC Associated Student Government President Yatzari Victoria. 

“This is going to be a huge difference in our education. Not only by giving us access to higher education but by reducing the stress and difficulties that come with parking at Fresno City,” she said during the ceremony this morning. 

Current City of Fresno councilmember and adjunct professor at FCC, Esmeralda Soria, was also at the groundbreaking ceremony and spoke about the impact this new structure will have. 

“I’m excited because now my students won’t have the excuse that they were running late because they couldn’t find parking,” she said. 

Photo Courtesy of Fresno City College’s Instagram page.

Despite all the excitement, some students have spoken out against the new parking structure on the college’s Twitter and Instagram pages. 

One of these students is Matthew Woodward, who currently attends FCC and is a member of the Students for Sustainable Action club on campus. 

Woodward had also planned to picket at the groundbreaking ceremony on behalf of the club but did not. 

In an interview with The Rampage, Woodward explained that he is familiar with the issue of parking and was once a student who also hoped the SCCCD invested in more parking. 

However in an effort to help the environment and reduce pollution in the City of Fresno, Woodward is now an advocate for biking or taking the bus to campus as an alternative to driving. 

“We need to make investments in the infrastructure because if we keep on building parking garages so that people can drive, we are going to end up with more air pollution and traffic congestion long term,” he said. 

By talking about the parking structure on his social media, Woodward wanted to bring more attention to the fact there are FCC students who want it to be easier to reach campus by bike or bus because that is what is cheaper for them and better for the environment. 

SCCCD Vice Chancellor of Operations, Christine Miktarian, told The Rampage that FCC and SCCCD hosted multiple community meetings, met with neighbors in the area, and conducted student and staff transportation surveys to get an idea of how students and staff felt about this project. 

As a result, Miktarian feels this is why there has been very little backlash towards this project. 

In regards to environmental issues, such as the ones stated by Woodward, the SCCCD does encourage the use of public transportation but understands that it is not always the best option for students and staff. 

As Miktarian understands it, “With added parking there will be less circling of the parking lots looking for a space, which means less time spent driving and polluting the air while in our parking lots.” 

In the past, the SCCCD and FCC have invested in public transportation for students through programs such as the FAX bus pass program which was very successful, according to SCCCD officials. 

Both the district and the college plan to keep encouraging the City of Fresno to expand it’s current bus system as well.