Division’s proposal spurs complaints

By Susie Snyder

If the NIU Parking Division wants a new building, it might have a difficult time selling the proposal to the rest of the university.

NIU Parking Division Director Lynn Fraser and NIU Parking Committee Chairman Bob Bornhuetter brought the proposal for a new division site to the parking committee’s special meeting Thursday.

Bornhuetter said he is concerned about the location of the current division office because many vehicles and pedestrians “have to share the same space.” He also said the university should not direct visitors to the division because the office is an eyesore.

Fraser added that she and her staff have very little workspace and that it is difficult to find “good” employees because many people do not want to work in a “claustrophobic” atmosphere.

Bornhuetter said, “I’m apalled by all the people that work in that ‘closet.'”

Larry Bolles, director of the NIU Judicial Office, said he sympathized with the division’s situation, but he wanted to know “the argument we can make to (the rest of the university) about how a new facility will better serve the public.”

Henry Winsor, committee student representative, said the new facility proposal will be a “difficult sell job” for the committee. He said the committee will be using bond revenue money that people believed was intended for more parking spaces and parking lot improvements.

Winsor said students and faculty would be “very upset” about funding a new facility with revenues from increased parking permit sticker prices because they believed the prices were raised in August to help relieve NIU’s cramped parking situation.

Cynthia Dugan, committee member, said she agreed with Winsor. She said she has received several complaints because the proposal “came off as a fancy ‘come and have coffee with us building.'”

Dugan was referring to an Oct. 6 article in The Northern Star. The article included a quote from Bornhuetter which stated that the new division could include a “Welcome to NIU Office. Visitors could pick up their special parking passes, get campus maps and maybe pick up a cup of coffee.”

Fraser said the committee can show the university that services would be improved with a new location, a drive-up window for more efficient transactions and a new lobby. She said the current lobby has no air conditioning or heat.

William Parker, NIU interim associate vice president for business and operations and a former committee member, said the committee should form a special subcommittee to study the issue. He said the committee could carry more leverage if they could present the university with a written program statement.

“Think of the problems with the current location,” Parker said. He said the study should concentrate on what kind of facility the division needs, on whether the new facility should include a drive-up window and whether the division should incorporate an additional service into the new building.

Bornhuetter proposed and formed a special subcommittee to conduct a three-month study on the issue.