Parking progress on UNI campus - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Parking progress on UNI campus

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CEDAR FALLS (KWWL) -- Finding a great parking spot on a college campus seems to be a never ending battle. But Friday night, the University of Northern Iowa is a little closer to winning that war.

Campus leaders are officially dedicating a multi-million dollar Multimodal Transportation Center. It creates nearly 600 parking spaces, and connects people on campus with the rest of the Cedar Valley.

"It's hard to say you get excited about a parking facility but we are excited because it's that, plus more," said UNI President Benjamin Allen.

It's a parking ramp, bus station, eco-friendly, and to top it off it's pretty neat to look at.

"That's what we're all about! Making life comfortable for people, moving people, protecting the environment. And, my god, take a look! Isn't this a great facility?" said Federal Transit Administration Director for Region VII, Mokhtee Ahmad.

Getting to the final product took nearly ten years and many challenges. Planning committees debated, and discarded, several different spots before landing here.

"I think those people who were here all ten years, they probably did think -- will this ever happen?" Allen noted.

Ahmad agreed, "you know, we went through close to nine years, back and forth, back and forth, but it finally came through."

On the ground floor, it looks like a typical, albeit nice, parking area. But go a little higher, and you'll see the high-tech part. The building is net-zero -- meaning it generates as much power as it uses.

"We want our environment to last for generations on end. So having a net-zero building and having one of the first ones in Iowa at the UNI campus, I think it really shows and represents the green initiative that UNI students are portraying," said UNI Senior Jennifer Nulty.

It also represents how well different communities can work together by connecting several different bus lines.

"What routes, and how the connecting pieces best serve the City of Cedar Falls, the City of Waterloo, and how it best served us," Allen explained.

Allen hopes the new Multimodal Transportation Center will continue serving the community for decades to come.

"Long after I leave, long after probably the 20th president leaves, this building will be here," he added.

Federal grants paid for 80 percent of the $14.8 million project. The city is in the process of re-vamping the streetscape around the building to continue enhancing it's eye-appeal.

Online Reporter Colleen O'Shaughnessy

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