Tarleton considers plan to add parking, fix drainage

TSU Media Relations
Tarleton State University's proposed area for new parking.

Tarleton State University is considering a plan to add approximately 350 parking spaces on university property along Washington Street, adjacent to the Cecil Ballow Baseball Complex.

The proposed lot would open in fall 2017 and replace parking that will be lost when the new Engineering Building construction begins. The lot would be accessed from Harbin Street and the existing baseball/softball parking lots, with no entry from Washington Street.

Creating the parking lot will enable Tarleton, the city of Stephenville and the Texas Department of Transportation to resolve drainage and flooding that currently affect Washington Street and the adjacent West End Memorial Cemetery, causing erosion of soil onto Long Street. City officials are in conversation with the university to coordinate these improvements.

“Tarleton’s vision is to be the premier student-focused university in Texas and beyond, and providing parking adjacent to campus is an important service for students,” said Dr. Kyle McGregor, vice president for advancement and external relations. “The aim is to provide a much needed service to our students, while preserving as much of the pecan grove in that area as possible.”

The university’s master plan calls for parking along the campus periphery, creating a more pedestrian-friendly, safer university. As part of the plan’s recent update, the university explored the possibility of parking garages, but found them cost prohibitive.

The estimated cost to build a 500-space, multi-story parking garage would be $10 million, which must be funded by a bond, not by university sources. By state law, users of the garage must provide the revenue to make the $500,000 bond payment each year, which would mean a $1,000 annual fee to park in the garage.

In contrast, traditional surface parking lots can be constructed for $1,500-$2,000 per space, and may be funded through a campus-wide fee structure. Currently, students pay $85 and faculty/staff $90 per year for university parking. Faculty/staff reserved spaces are $310 annually.

Tarleton has issued a request for bids for the proposed parking lot; however, the university continues to review alternative plans. A final decision is pending.

To review the Tarleton State University Campus Master Plan 2020, visit http://www.tarleton.edu/FINADMINWEB/masterplan/documents/TarletonStateUniversity2020MasterPlan.pdf.