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Proposed U. parking garage spurring student protest

By Andrew Wittenberg | Posted - Apr 24th, 2013 @ 10:27pm

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SALT LAKE CITY — A proposed $6 million parking garage could mean major parking help at the University of Utah. But some students say the garage would ruin another multimillion dollar university facility that's less than five years old.

The Frederick Albert Sutton Building, students say, was built to serve a specific purpose: to help geology and geophysics students observe and learn science from their desk. If the four- to five-story parking garage is built, their breathtaking view of the Oquirrh Mountains, the Bonneville Shoreline and the Great Salt Lake would disappear.

In protest of the plan, several students covered the windows of the Sutton building with paper and messages of protest Wednesday.

"This paper is here to show people what it would be like without the view," said graduate student David Wheatley.

Not only would the garage obstruct the view, Wheatley said, but it would also defeat the purpose of the only LEED-certified building on the academic campus. The Sutton building's features rely heavily on natural light and access to public transportation, he said.

A student petition is also making the rounds to stop the garage.

"I would like to think (university officials) would respect the opinion of this many students getting motivated. We already have over 130 signatures on our handwritten petition," said graduate student Julia Mulhern.

University officials said the parking garage is part of a planned capital funding project which has been years in the making. They wouldn't elaborate Wednesday, saying they're planning a Thursday meeting to discuss the issue students. It will begin at 5 p.m. at the Sutton building.

Meanwhile, the students and faculty members who frequent the Sutton building hope their voices are heard, and their views, along with the building, remain unobstructed.

"This is something that we truly do care about, that makes a difference in our daily lives," Wheatley said.


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