University parking structures C-7 and C-10 are proof that time doesn't stand still.
Though the garages still are functional after 40 years of hot, humid summers and icy-cold winters, there is visible wear and tear on the exterior brick, and the crumbling stairwells have had to be repaired.
"It's kind of an open secret that those structures are nearing the end of their lives, and something needs to be done," said Michelle Wahl, the director of the campus parking department.
Corrosion damage visible on the outside also penetrates the interior of the concrete slabs comprising the structure.
Wahl said it's not a question of if the structures will be taken down, but when - and what will replace them.
"Nothing is happening to them immediately," said Brian Farber, the executive assistant to the associate vice chancellor for student affairs and the director of auxiliary services, "but five years from now, nobody will be parking in those structures."
How to address the loss of the parking spaces in the garages, which serve 700 campus employees, will be a central question of a parking master planning process that began in January.
Over the next few months, Walker Parking Consultants will meet with a variety of campus parking patrons, study the current campus parking system as a whole and prioritize a wide range of project and cost recommendations. The company also will review the department's operational efficiency.
Wahl said the master plan will set the course for the parking system for the next 10 years and will be used to advise administrators on parking priorities and how to pay for needed improvements.
In addition, the consultants will initiate an online campuswide survey in the spring semester, which will target all "walks" of those who use campus parking services, including students, faculty and staff members, as well as departments or colleges that may have special parking needs.
"We hope the survey leads to a host of solutions that will become part of the master plan," Farber said. "It actually turns out to be fortunate that we can dovetail C-7 and C-10 into this broader conversation."
Wahl said parking continues to be a quality-of-life issue for university users, and the two garages - one at Sixth and John streets, the other at Fifth and Daniel streets - are central to that conversation.
Renters at those lots were given notice last week of the need to remove the garages, and were promised they will be included in the survey and that their needs will be taken into account.
"Our planning process will address both the short-term and long-term parking needs of the customers in these facilities," read the notice to patrons of the two parking garages. "The removal of these structures is not happening in the immediate future, so please be assured you do not need to take any action at this time."
Once the user survey is completed and the consulting firm has made its report at the end of the year, a standing steering committee representing a diverse campus constituency will make final recommendations.
Farber said the consultant's recommendations - including what will fill the void of C-7 and C-10 - won't be known until the process is completed.
Until then, the parking department has created a new "master plan" tab on its website that includes FAQs about the process and the two parking garages. Officials have promised to send regular updates and meeting notices to patrons.
Once the master plan details are finalized, Wahl said funding will be the next challenge. Since tax money cannot be used for parking improvements, she said any plan involving major construction would have to be self-supporting through fees, rentals and fines.