Parking lot H and environmental safeguards
The success of Immaculata’ s many programs has led to a healthy growth in enrollment during the past decade. With such success has come a need to increase parking capacity. A recent parking study, as well as popular opinion, indicated that one of the strongest preferences was for such additional parking to be situated adjacent to the central academic area. To achieve this objective, Parking Lot H was constructed in a convenient location between Gabriele Library & Loyola Hall.
During the design process, it was recognized that the wooded hillside between the University and Lancaster Avenue serves as an environmentally sensitive watershed to Valley Creek (which runs down through Valley Forge National Historic Park), and as such, carries the state’s highest environmental rating of ‘EV’ (Exceptional Value). Desiring to be responsible stewards of the community at large, Parking Lot H was laid out in a configuration which protected two large oak trees, and that left space for dozens of new trees to be planted.
In addition, an underground water storage vault was built at the base of the parking lot to delay the lot’s storm water runoff, gradually discharging its contents into the earth below. On top of this underground infiltration basin, a sophisticated rain garden was constructed with layers of specially refined soils and then planted with native species of wild flowers and grasses, each of which are selected for their capacity to act as a natural filter, absorbing and converting many of the chemicals that may be washed across the lot during a rain storm. A second rain garden was built into the lot’s island (a narrow strip of non-paved real estate between parking aisles).
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