Fulfilling the mission espoused 48 years ago by Joni Mitchell, the Wisconsin Alumni Association announced that this year it will pave Alumni Park and replace it with an alfresco automotive storage area.
Called “Alumni Parking Lot,” the facility will offer room for up to 24 cars, minivans, and light trucks.
“We believe that this will be the first Alumni Parking Lot of its kind in the country,” says Sarah Schutt, WAA’s executive director. “Of course, we haven’t really looked very hard.”
Alumni Parking Lot will sit between Memorial Union and the Red Gym. Drivers may enter from Langdon Street, and the facility will allow for the full utilization of the 1.3-acre site that currently hosts Alumni Park. Crews arrived the morning of April 1 and began removing obstacles, including what appears to be a 2,500-pound statue of an anthropomorphic weasel.
With its state-of-the-art surface (made of a substance Schutt calls “cement”), Alumni Parking Lot will be a tremendous upgrade over the rustic Alumni Park, which is littered with trees and pollen-producing flowers.
“As an added benefit, the new lot uses a gravity-based environmental system to full effect,” Schutt says. Thanks to the natural slope and the impermeability of the cement surface, spilled oil, dropped change, and other garbage will flow cleanly down into the lake for permanent disposal. “It will just drop into the water, and you never see it again.”
WAA has scheduled a series of parties and events around the opening of Alumni Parking Lot, which is scheduled during Homecoming weekend in 2018, 2019, or 2020.