UND will not be making immediate changes to its parking policies following multiple listening sessions on campus this month.
"We want to find a consensus-driven solution," Jed Shivers, vice president for finance and operations at UND, said during a session this week. "We want to find a good solution and create a process of participation that lasts."
UND held two forums this month to get input on potential changes to its parking services, including the possibility of increasing parking permit fees and changing the current parking format to a tiered system.
However, Mike Pieper, vice president of facilities at UND, said conversations will continue next year, so no changes are anticipated for August 2019. The group will continue to discuss possible changes for August 2020.
Earlier this month, Pieper said parking is partially subsidized from other sources, and that support would not be part of the new plan. UND wants parking to be self-sufficient in five years, meaning no subsidies from other parts of campus, Pieper said.
The university now will continue conversations about potential changes.
A 2012 parking lot assessment looked at the deterioration of each parking lot and road surface where parking is allowed on campus. The assessment gave UND a score of 51, or "poor," just one level up from the very bottom rung. Industry standards hold that higher education institutions should maintain their hard parking surfaces to score at least 80, or "satisfactory," Pieper said.
In order to obtain a score of 80 or higher at UND, it would take an investment of more than $32 million, he said.
UND said there are no plans to build another ramp or parking structure, according to a UND Today blog post. Shivers said it is also possible the university could charge for parking permits based on income.
"It's on the table," Shivers said.
The school has a $1.1 million debt on the parking ramp and the parking department spent $5 million last summer to renovate dilapidated lots. To renovate all lots would cost about $30 million, according to UND figures.
The state Senate Appropriations Committee had authorized $25 million in bonds for parking projects at UND. However, committee chair Ray Holmberg, R-Grand Forks, said the committee had concerns about the university's plans to pay for the bonds, which likely would have included major hikes to parking passes on campus.
The committee decided last week to cut the bonding from $25 million to $10 million.
Friday, Holmberg said a conference committee for the higher education bill may not include any bonding for UND parking. However, Holmberg said bonding dollars will remain a part of the discussion as the bill progresses.
"I think they did the right thing. They've got to engage these folks," Holmberg said. "... They obviously paid attention to the constituency out at UND. You can't drop that on them like that."
Holmberg said he is glad the administration listened to students, faculty and staff.
UND has also created a survey for campus community members to take.