It's been said good fences make for good neighbors. Elder Neal A. Maxwell takes the adage a step further: "Sharing parking makes for good neighbors."
A member of the Quorum of the Twelve, Elder Maxwell joined Church education and University of Utah officials Aug. 19 for a ribbon cutting ceremony to mark the opening of a Church-owned, three-level parking garage located immediately east of the LDS Institute of Religion building near the university campus.
Erase any image that utilitarian parking garages bring to mind. The new parking facility is built with a red brick veneer matching the recently-dedicated Institute building. It could almost be mistaken, at first glance, as a hall for college classrooms. With its 656 parking stalls and dual entrances, the garage is both functional and aesthetically pleasing.
"You'd be hard pressed to find another parking facility as beautiful as this in Utah, or anywhere else," said Bishop Richard C. Edgley, first counselor in the Church's Presiding Bishopric.
The new facility will serve both the institute and the university. The 251 stalls on the lower level will be used for institute parking, while the middle will be used by the university and as patron parking for users of the TRAX light rail system. The facility's west entrance is adjacent to a TRAX stop.
The top level will be reserved for university parking as part of a 25-year lease agreement with the Church. The parking facility will also be utilized by University of Utah sports fans, folks seeking help at university health service centers, and members and families attending weekend Church meetings at nearby chapels.
A University of Utah graduate and former administrator at the school, Elder Maxwell admitted to a moment of nostalgia standing at the entrance of the parking garage. He remembered attending political science classes taught by Homer Durham in antiquated barracks once located at what is now the east end of the garage.
The adjacency of the university campus and the institute is more than geographical, Elder Maxwell said. The close proximity speaks to a shared "commitment to education."
"And I like the red brick," he added in a nod to the university's school colors.
University of Utah President Bernie Machen called the parking garage "a tangible example of the spirit of cooperation that exists between the University of Utah and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints."
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