Tarleton State University today received approval from The Texas A&M University System to bond $3.5 million to expedite projects originally planned for fall 2019.

The funding enables the university to demolish more homes purchased close to the Stephenville campus and convert vacated properties into parking lots. In addition, almost the entire block south of Memorial Stadium will become a large parking lot.

“Approval to bond this funding comes at a time when we need it most, and we are grateful to Chancellor John Sharp and the System for their support,” said Tarleton President F. Dominic Dottavio. “With a freshman class of 2,500 and more requests for parking, we must move forward now to create additional spaces for students, faculty and staff rather than wait until next year.

“As a student-focused university, we have heard our Tarleton family and understand the frustration that comes with limited parking during peak class times. Beginning our planned parking project a year earlier reflects our commitment to create a positive Tarleton experience.”

Tarleton’s capital plan includes $5 million in projects to increase parking beginning next fall. System approval to divide the project into two smaller ones makes funds available now and allows contractors to begin work as quickly as possible.

Contractors are on the Stephenville campus today compiling proposals to expand parking near the stadium and expedite demolition of Tarleton-owned properties.

“Accelerating fall 2019 projects not only increases parking sooner but allows us to get ahead of anticipated growth over the next several years,” Dottavio said.

To provide immediate relief, Tarleton is asking construction crews working on the engineering building and stadium renovation to move out of student lots, striping new locations near the tennis courts and converting a number of reserved spaces to open parking.