Dorm debate

Neighbors ask: Where will they all park?

Chico State sure has some passionate neighbors.

When residents of the Mansion Park neighborhood, tucked between the university and Chico High School, learned of plans for a new residence hall and cafeteria on campus, they were none too happy. They wrote letters and spoke out publicly—as Doris Meriam, Lee Laney and Jann Reed did for a Sept. 20 CN&R story—to protest the five-story building they said they knew nothing about until it was basically a done deal.

About 50 of them showed up for a meeting with university officials Monday (Oct. 15) to discuss the behemoth set to be built on Legion Avenue, between Whitney and Shasta halls.

Neighbors are up in arms because many of them, too, live on Legion Avenue, some just a block away from the pending construction. They seemed pleased with a concession to move it back from 12 feet off the curb to 20; what’s got their goat even more than the building itself are the 228 teenagers it will bring. Hordes of freshmen mean hordes of cars—cars that will likely be parked on Legion and Citrus avenues because there’s no new parking structure.

Interim director of Facilities Planning Joel Trenalone did his best to ease the minds of the restless crowd.

“We’re taking students out of the neighborhoods and putting them on campus,” he explained. “So, they’re not going to be driving their cars to campus—they’ll already be here.”

His argument, while a good one, went largely unheard.

“Why does the university continue to build … without creating more parking?” asked Jeanne Thatcher, who lives on the corner of Legion and Arcadian.

“We try to balance every pressure that we’re under,” said President Paul Zingg.

Parking is certainly a pressure, and there are plans in the works for a four-story structure near Nettleton Stadium. It won’t be finished before the new dorm, though. And it won’t be enough to bring the campus up to par with parking at other CSU campuses, which all have at least double the amount Chico State has.

“Because they’re landlocked, we’re going to suffer,” Thatcher said. “But I do think they’re listening [to us] a little better.”