Virginia Tech makes changes to parking plan for 2013 football season

University officials have changed where football players will park to help minimize damage to Stadium Woods

POSTED: 09:03 AM EDT Jun 25, 2013 
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BLACKSBURG, Va. -

A new football season at Virginia Tech means a new parking policy on campus.

For years, the university's football players have been parking on the area known as Stadium Woods.

It's an area that surrounds the stadium and is used for research, classes and leisure activities because it's home to trees that are hundreds of years old.

However, faculty, students and residents started speaking up about long term affects parking could do to the area and now they are finally having their voices heard.

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WDBJ 7 obtained copies of Virginia Tech's new parking plans for the 2013 football season.

The group known as Friends of Stadium Woods said things are finally headed in the right direction.

"I think some of our concerns have been heard and thats why they're not going to park where they used to park on the sensitive root zones, but we dont understand why they still need to be parking in the woods," said Executive Director for Friends of Stadium Woods Rebekah Paulson.

The group has been fighting the university for years when it comes to protecting the wooded area, but a few of the members were somewhat relieved to hear of the new parking plan.

"It is definitely a compromise," said Paulson.

According to a letter written to the office of University Planning, the football players will no longer park in Stadium Woods.

After much review and consideration, the university has designated 59 spaces for the football team in an effort to help minimize the impact on one of Tech's most valued parts of campus.

During home games, the football team will now park in areas that border the woods as well as in the Cranwell Parking Lot.

According to the letter, the locations were chosen to "utilize existing paved parking with minimal impact on existing donor spaces, minimize the impace to trees and reduce possible compaction of soil near tree roots and find a location within close proximity to the football facilities."

"It's a major improvement from what has been taking place and parking can be devastating to trees," said retired Virginia Tech professor Jeff Kerwin.

The group said they'd like to see the team park in a completely different area of campus, but at this point, they will take what they can get.

"For it to happen at a university that has an arborteum committee and seems to care about trees but not to take that step is hard for us to watch," said Kerwin.

The fight is far from over for Friends of Stadium Woods.

The group has been trying to convince Virginia Tech to not build an indoor sports facility in the woods as well.

WDBJ 7 reached out to university officials on Monday regarding the status of the project.

A spokesman said the school is still in the discussion phase and that there has not been any progress on deciding where or when to build the facility.

According to the letter, Virginia Tech Renovations and the Athletic Department is already in the process of securing funding so the parking project can be completed prior to the start of the 2013 football season.