Construction crews began breaking ground behind Beasley Hall and the Moore Building over Christmas break to make way for the new Harrison Building, D. Newell Williams, president of the Brite Divinity School, said.
The Brite Divinity School will fund the $11 million structure which would add a fourth building to the three already encompassed in the religion center, Williams said.
Harold J. Leeman, associate director of major projects and facilities planning for the Physical Plant, said the parking lot east of the religion buildings would be occupied by the Austin Construction Company until the project's scheduled completion in January of 2012. Officials could not confirm the specific number of spaces in the lot.
Senior Christa Avery, a film, television and digital media major, said the university was already suffering from a lack of parking for students.
"I have to get here by eight o'clock every morning even if I don't have a class till later to get a parking space here," Avery said. "Plus, we all pay for a parking spot, so we should all have our own parking spot."
DeAnn Jones, coordinator for parking and transportation, said the reserved spaces that were located in the original parking lot have been moved to the lot east of the construction site.
The new Harrison Building would be three stories tall and encompass around 24,000 square feet, Williams said. It would follow the same Georgian, salmon brick style as the other religion buildings, and the roofline would also reflect the style of the Robert Carr Chapel.
"When they're done, there will be a lovely plaza between Moore, Beasley, the cloisters that are behind the chapel and this new building," Williams said.
According to the Brite Divinity School Bulletin, the school has been housed in the Moore Building since 1953.
With more than 200 students, the theological graduate school had been operating out of only three classrooms for more than 60 years. Williams said the school has had to convert spaces to different uses over the years in order to accommodate the growing number of students and faculty.
"There are no restrooms on the third floor of Moore because the restrooms are now used as faculty offices," Williams said. "We've had to retrofit everything because the building was built for 100 students 8212; we have over 200. The building was built for six faculty 8212; we have 20."