BOZEMAN, Mont. - Montana State University is one step closer to locking down the location of its new College of Engineering Center, but it's creating concerns over campus parking.
This week the university's planning board settled on their final recommendation for the Norm Asbjornson Innovation Center, but it will be located right over a central and heavily used parking lot.
"This week, the University's planning board made a recommendation that the site behind me be the site for the new Norm Asbjornson Innovation Center," said spokesperson Tracy Ellig.
The last step is for MSU President Waded Cruzado to sign off on it, and they expect her to.
"In all likelihood, the President will choose that site because there really aren't other good viable sites available to the University for a building this size," Ellig explained.
The new building will most likely be across the street from the Strand Union Building on Grant Street, where hundreds of parking spots now sit. Students explained that could be a problem.
"Students already do have a hard time parking on campus," said junior Cicily Webb.
"If you come anytime around noon up to 5, it's really hard to find a parking spot," said freshman Colton Arnold.
MSU students explained parking on campus is already tight, and they worry putting the building in the center of campus will make the problem even worse.
"I think parking has already gotten bad over the last few years," said junior Tyler Nansel, "and it would be nice if we could add some solution and obviously this is going backwards."
Ellig said the University also knows it could be an issue, explaining, "At this point, we don't know precisely how the building will interact with the parking space."
Ellig said they will look at how to make up for the lost spaces.
"We're going to look at different options about how parking could be incorporated into that site, how parking could be somewhere else to mitigate the loss of space," he said.
Students said they hope mitigating the loss of space will come in the form of a parking garage or underground parking.
Ellig said now that the facility's planning board recommended the site to Cruzado, it's up to her to give the final OK, and she could do so within the next four weeks.
The university is also working to select a firm to design the building, and if all goes to plan, they could break ground next spring.