Parking diminishes as Tarleton reaches record enrollment

By: Elizabeth Black

Managing Editor

Tarleton State University is growing and the number of students attending the university has increased over the years. While the students enjoy the benefits of being a Tarleton Texan, they all struggle with one problem, parking.

The red and purple parking lot next to Texan Hall is at maximum capacity.
Photo By: Nicholas Ratcliff

The university recently built a new engineering building and aquatics center. These buildings are useful to the students, but with the growth of the student body the number of cars on campus also increases and these two buildings were built on top of parking lots.

Earlier in the semester Texan News Service (TNS) interviewed Tarleton President James Hurley.

When asked about parking on campus he said, “We do have enough parking…the issue is our parking is sporadically placed, right or displaced.”

According to parking services, there are approximately 6,680 parking spots on campus right now, that includes 11 commuter lots, 21 residential lots, four visitor lots, 15 faculty lots, three residential leader lots and five all-access lots. Tarleton is in the process of building another parking spot where the old Venture apartments used to be that will increase parking by an estimated 70 more spaces.

Row after row of parking spaces are full in residential lots.
Photo By: Nicholas Ratcliff

The university released announced in August that the Board of Regents approved a parking garage. The stacked parking structure would add 600 more parking spots for students and is planned to open in 2024.

The registrar’s office recorded enrollment for the fall semester as of Aug. 27, 2021, was roughly 5,701 commuting students and 3,893 students that reside on campus for a total of 9,594 students. The number of students that attend classes at the Stephenville campus outnumbers the total amount of parking spaces by over 2,900.

TNS reached out to Cecelia Jacobs, the assistant vice president of marketing and communication, about the growth of the student population and student parking.

When asked what the ratio of parking spots to students Jacobs said, “Based on current availability, Tarleton has enough parking for fall 2021.”

In these past few years, commuter students could rely on the football stadium’s parking lot for last-minute parking before class. This fall semester students are struggling to find parking in this reliable lot.

 Tyler Ransom, a commuting senior at Tarleton, said, “In all my years at Tarleton, I have never seen the football parking lot full.”

When asked about what the university should do about parking, Ransom responded, “There’s not much they can do besides build more lots… the parking garage should help though.”

The parking lots near the baseball fields are also filling up fast. Photo By: Nicholas ratcliff

This may not be the case later in the year because one of the all-access lots near the baseball field is closed due the construction. According to Jacobs, the baseball field lot should open soon, providing more parking for the student body

TNS reached out to Dorothy Lewis, a parking officer at Tarleton, asking about the number of illegal parking tickets given this semester but did not receive a reply.

When asked how the university will provide parking for all the students before the parking garage opens Jacobs said, “The university will continue to look for creative solutions to maximize existing parking, such as reassigning delegated lots to best fit the current need. So far, we’ve been able to manage growth and provide parking.”

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