Parking lot construction is underway for Memphis College of Art’s (MCA) downtown Nesin Graduate School on S. Main. Since the school opened in the fall of 2010, parking has been scarce for students.
There are a handful of parking spots available to the side of the building on Butler, but the majority of students have to parallel park wherever they can.
“They’re in the same predicament as most downtown businesses. It’s first come, first serve,” said Jonathan Welden, director of MCA’s physical plant.
Welden said lack of parking is a common complaint among students at the grad school, which boasts more than 100 enrollees.
“The plan is for MCA to have a permanent presence in the South Main Arts District,” Welden said. “[We want to] utilize that presence to foster the continued development of it as an arts district, and in that process, continue to educate the community in and through the visual arts.”
Although the school has 24-hour in-house security and cameras operating in the area, Welden said there have been multiple car break-ins since MCA moved into the building in 2010.
“The security for our building and our area, specifically, is not a concern, but it just goes with the general rule that in any area where there are so many automobiles in one spot, break-ins are going to occur,” Welden said.
The new parking lot will be patrolled and fenced-in to help lower the chances of students getting their vehicles burglarized.
The lot will be designated only for MCA staff, faculty, and students, and drivers must have a parking pass hanging from their rearview mirror.
“I think it’s going to serve the greater community as a whole, because it will relieve those additional cars from the street. Other businesses and residences in the area should have an easier time finding parking,” Weldon said.
The lot has been in the works since September and is slated to be completed by January 15th.