Lunz Prebor Fowler Architechts

Saint Leo University Parking Garage & Sports Field

Typical of many educational institutions, Saint Leo University (Saint Leo, Florida) faces the challenge of a burgeoning student population and academic program expansion without the ability to increase land area.  Innovation and flexibility through design solutions are the foundation of Campus expansion.  SLU previously lacked much needed staff and student parking as well as additional land to allow for surface expansion. The creative solution was to work with the topography and build a parking garage into the hillside. The inventive end result, a 150,000 square foot, 730 car garage topped by an artificial turf stadium, is a multi-functional facility. At the time of completion, SLU was one of only three campuses in the US with a NCAA Soccer/Lacrosse field above a parking garage.   Because the garage is built into the hillside, it blends seamlessly into the Campus’ grade.  With the exception of the stair towers and stadium, only the top of the athletic field is visible from the entry. The exposed elements were designed to complement the University’s “Mission” Style.  Tropical landscaping on three sides and pedestrian paths creates a “park like” view to the natural wetlands the garage abuts.

The rectilinear, four bay garage is an open structure with ventilation/light wells at each end to achieve natural ventilation and lighting. Vehicular entry is at the mid-level of the garage with a ramp down to the lower level.  A kiosk sign with a parking space counter at the main entry guides patrons to open parking. In addition to 730 car spots, there are also 24 motorcycle and bicycle parking spaces. Twenty golf cart charging stations are located at the lower level.  University personnel park in the lower level, and pick up a golf cart to use for the day, reducing vehicular traffic across campus.

Additional user amenities include a concession stand, restroom, wayfinding, WIFI at bleachers, locker room, pressbox and storage. The artificial turf competition field runs north to south with two practice fields running east/west striped for student use. The field is only elevated 3-10 feet above the adjacent roadway.

In addition to sporting events, the field turf stadium’s assembly load was designed to support a potential 6,000 person outdoor graduation ceremony, outdoor concerts and campus events. Kevlar fabric wind screens can be added in the future to create a hurricane shelter.

Design Awards

  • 2013 — International Parking Institute – Award of Merit