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Sac State's innovative parking structure earns high honor

Tony Lucas, associate vice president for Business and Administrative Services, on Dec. 2 stands in front of gleaming Parking Structure 5, knowing the building represents excellence and innovation that serves the University's sustainability goals. (Sacramento State/Andrea Price)

Sac State’s Parking Structure 5 (PS5) is a six-story example of modern construction innovation, from its cooling white interior and technical amenities, to the dozens of green aluminum “leaves” that pay homage to the University’s urban forest.

It also is a sustainability masterpiece, and earned recognition as such.

Parksmart, the only rating system for parking structures that promotes sustainable mobility through smarter design and operation, made PS5's high standing official in late November by awarding it a prestigious Gold certification.

Sacramento State is the first university in the country to achieve Parksmart Gold status, PS5 being one of just four of the 36 structures certified by Parksmart to earn that top rating.

“Sustainability, innovation, determination, and teamwork were key factors contributing to Parking Structure 5’s designation as a Parksmart Gold certified project,” said Tony Lucas, associate vice president for Business and Administrative Services.

Tony Lucas poses with one of the artistic touches that enhance Gold certified PS5. (Sacramento State/Andrea Price)

Tony Lucas poses with one of the artistic touches that enhance Gold certified PS5. (Sacramento State/Andrea Price)

“Those factors are a part of the Sac State DNA and guide our stewardship of precious resources. The certification is testimony to Sac State’s commitment to a sustainable environment.”

Parksmart is administered by Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI), which also manages the green-building rating system known as LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design).

“Receiving the Parksmart Gold certification is the embodiment of Sac State’s concerted sustainability efforts,” said Jonathan Bowman, vice president for Administration and Business Affairs. “Kudos to the project team for this impressive accolade.”

PS5 is Sac State’s newest parking structure and earned 171 of a possible 248 points to achieve Parksmart’s top honors.

Contributing to the high score is the built-in occupancy-sensor system, which alerts drivers to the number of available parking spaces via a signboard along Arboretum Way and on the Sac State app.

Once inside PS5, drivers watch for the overhead LED lights that indicate open and filled parking spots ahead.

"Sustainability, innovation, determination, and teamwork were key factors contributing to Parking Structure 5’s designation as a Parksmart Gold certified project. Those factors are a part of the Sac State DNA and guide our stewardship of precious resources. The certification is testimony to Sac State’s commitment to a sustainable environment.” 

Among the structure’s other notable features are Sac State’s first tire-inflation station, a bike compound for 100 two-wheelers, 54 electric-vehicle charging stations, carpool/clean-air vehicle spaces on multiple floors, and the infrastructure for photovoltaic solar array scheduled for installation in spring 2021.

Additionally, bioswales on the grounds reduce the amount of potentially dirty stormwater runoff into the nearby American River.

The $42 million parking structure, near the J Street campus entrance adjacent to the University Arboretum and the Welcome Center, opened in May 2018.

Dreyfuss + Blackford Architecture designed PS5 and the Welcome Center, which was completed last spring during the COVID-19 campus closure. University Transportation and Parking Services (UTAPS) moved its headquarters to the Welcome Center from Folsom Hall in April.

“We all have a lot to be proud of by achieving Parksmart Gold. This certainly isn’t the norm for parking structures,” said Erik Winje, preconstruction manager for Clark Pacific, the structure's design-build contractor. “Hats off to Sacramento State for sticking to their sustainability vision and to Dreyfuss + Blackford for a design well done.”

PS5 also became a mobile study hall after the pandemic prompted Sac State to move instruction online and close most campus buildings. The Division of Information Resources and Technology (IRT) quickly converted the parking structure into a drive-in Wi-Fi “hot spot” for students who need reliable internet service to attend virtual classes and do their homework.

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About Dixie Reid

Dixie Reid has been a writer for Sac State since 2012 after decades as a newspaper reporter. A Texas native with the accent to prove it, Dixie is crazy about “dear friends, big dogs, good books, great food, day trips, baking cookies, California sunshine (and fog), and kind people.”

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