New parking lots to be added

By Arynn Tomson

Multimedia Journalist

Tarleton State University will begin demolition on residential properties near campus later this month in order to create additional parking. According to a Tarleton press release, five to seven houses will be demolished, in addition to 11 that have already been demolished. The lots are expected to be completed by Fall 2019 semester.

The lots are expected to be completed by the Fall 2019 semester. In addition, the possibility of a parking garage is being discussed but still doesn’t seem feasible to the university, says University spokeswoman Cecilia Jacobs.

The soon-to-be demolished houses are on Harbin Drive, West Washington, Felix, and Sloan Streets. Jacobs told Texan News that most of these houses were already vacant, but some were listed as “for sale.” The parking designations for the future lots has not yet been determined.

“Owners who have property within Tarleton’s focus area are asked if they have an interest to sell. However, property owners often approach the university directly,” said Jacobs.

In order to buy the properties, many steps are taken in order to make sure both parties are satisfied with the arrangement. The Texas A&M University real estate guidelines require two certified appraisals in order to establish a fair market value. Jacobs said the university maintains a dialogue with the property’s owners.

“In cases, a sale may not occur for years until the timing is right for the owner and the university,” said Jacobs.

When enough properties are obtained by Tarleton to create a space large enough for parking, offices, or residential, the planning goes into effect.

Jacobs said the university has received positive feedback about its growth from many entrepreneurs in the community, who say they support Tarleton’s purchase of properties in the area and that university growth improves their real estate values and rental rates.

Although a parking garage is proposed in the 2020 master plan, Jacobs said many things can prevent further work on the proposed projects.

“University master planning is just that, a planning document. All elements or conceptual ideas may not materialize due to unforeseen factors such as land availability or budget constraints,” added Jacobs.

Tarleton’s 2020 master plan states that a parking garage remains too expensive.

“During the planning process, parking garages were discussed and explored in several locations on the campus,” according to the plan.

“At this time, however, the university determined that this option remains prohibitively expensive, and that parking needs can be met through a combination of new surface lots and improved efficiency. The university will have to continue to evaluate parking needs holistically, examining its parking policy and exploring demand reduction strategies to mitigate the need to construct additional lots where at all possible.”

“The estimated cost to construct a garage ranges from $17,000 to $22,000 per space depending on such things as location, number of spaces, environmental concerns, infrastructure (utilities present or not), the need for upgrades to storm water drainage, lighting, surveillance/safety considerations and various code requirements,” said Jacobs.

The cost of a surface lot is typically $1,200 to $1,700 per space. Because the cost of building these accommodations must be offset by the cost of permits, Tarleton is looking at all possible options in order to keep parking permits affordable for students and faculty.

Jacobs also said that Tarleton wants to maintain certain properties for future construction of “state-of-the-art teaching and research facilities.”

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