Under pressure from neighbors, Colorado College has revised its plans for a proposed hockey arena on campus and will build a parking lot with 100 spaces and a parking garage to accommodate 300 to 350 vehicles, officials said Monday.
After discussing community feedback, the private liberal arts school’s Board of Trustees voted at a recent meeting to change the Robson Arena site plan to add a parking garage south of the arena, which now will be near Cache la Poudre and Tejon streets instead of Cache la Poudre and Dale streets.
“We’d be very excited for Colorado College to look at the parking concerns and do something about it,” said Samantha Klingenberg, president of the Old North End Neighborhood.
Parking has been the top concern of residents surrounding the college, said Klingenberg, whose nonprofit association preserves, protects and enhances the historic neighborhood north of the college.
Parking is often at a premium on residential streets near the school, which has about 2,000 students.
“We appreciate them (Colorado College) listening to neighbors and coming up with solutions,” Klingenberg said.
But Monica Hobbs of the Near North End Neighborhood Association, which includes the area where the arena will be, said the parking proposal is “a drop in the bucket” and won’t solve the existing problems.
“We appreciate that the college is listening, but in reality, they’re not doing enough,” she said.
Colorado College has a concentration of venues, from a sports center to several arts centers, with insufficient parking, Hobbs said.
“They’re trying to shoehorn something that’s too big for our neighborhood into our neighborhood. They really need to do more.”
At several recent community forums, residents said they were angry about the college’s lack of attention to parking in building a new home for CC Tigers Division 1 hockey games and other events under the City for Champions tourism initiative.
“People live and work in the area, so how will they be accommodated?” asked Wendy Mike, of nearby All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church, at a January community meeting. “There is a (longtime) historical presence in this neighborhood that feels like it’s being shoved under the bus (by CC).”
Also at that meeting, Vic Appugliese, a 20-year resident of the Old North End, said the college has not been able to keep students and staff from parking in front of homes, so “how can we expect the college to control parking during large events when they don’t have control over their students and staff now?”
The 100-space parking lot will be built where the Burghart Tennis Courts are, west of the El Pomar Sports Center.
The college intends to move the tennis courts to college property south of the transportation center near the Van Briggle Facilities Services building on Glen Avenue, according to a news release.
College officials also are “in discussion with owners of multiple private parking lots close to the campus for use of their lots for Robson Arena events.”
Agreements with the lot owners would result in 375 to 400 more off-street parking spaces, the news release said.
Between the new parking garage, existing off-street campus lots, a new campus lot and nearby private parking lots, college officials believe the updated strategy would accommodate enough parking for a sold-out crowd of up to 3,650 attendees, the largest capacity expected for Tigers’ hockey games.
The school expects 500 students to attend games and primarily walk to the arena. On-street parking, shuttles, ride sharing and biking are options in the plan.
“We would be thrilled if CC wanted to add parking to their campus,” Klingenberg said.
Construction on the arena is to start this year, demolishing existing buildings, relocating utilities and preparing the site for construction.
The arena is named for Edward J. Robson, a 1954 CC graduate and former member of the hockey team who also made a primary donation, along with other private donations totaling $21 million.
The project also will receive funds through the City for Champions initiative awarded to Colorado Springs through the state’s Regional Tourism Act.
The college’s 3D Arts Workshop will remain at 133 E. Cache La Poudre St. through the fall before it is razed and a permanent location chosen.
The change also means a new natatorium will be built on the site of Schlessman Natatorium, instead of next to the arena as earlier planned.
More information is on the project website at coloradocollege.edu/robsonarena.
After a March 23 public meeting, video of the meeting, presentation documents, site map and schematics also will be posted to the website.
For notices of project meetings, anyone interested should email RobsonArenaDesign@coloradocollege.edu to be added to the email list.