55 parking spaces to be added next week

In a couple of weeks, students who live on campus might find parking a little easier after the addition of 55 new parking spaces, a university official said.

The parking lot, located on the corner of West Berry Street and Wabash Avenue, is scheduled to open Sept. 19, said DeAnn Jones, coordinator for parking and transportation services.

The university currently has about 7,300 parking spaces on campus, said Harold Leeman, associate director of major projects.

The exact number of main campus parking spaces was unavailable because some parking lots, such as the freshman lot, can be occupied by more than one type of permit holders, as well as parking data that hasn’t been updated since 2006, Jonessaid. No further parking expansion is planned following the completion of the new lot, Jones said.

Leeman said in the next couple of weeks, the university will start a yearlong project of updating its “master plan” for the university.

The university’s master plan is updated every five years and looks at several things, including utilities, traffic, academics and athletics, he said.

Leeman said parking is one of the items to be discussed. The construction of a parking garage is not off the table, but the logistics will take some time, he said.

“It’s basically anywhere from $10,000 to $12,000 a space what costs to build a parking garage,” Leeman said. “We want to make sure we [are] not going to waste $15 million on a parking garage that’s in the wrong space.”

The administration made a conscious decision to first see how the construction of the Commons affected the TCU community, Leeman said.

Students said the new parking spaces will provide some relief.

“I think it will be really helpful, because I [have] only found spots (in the Coliseum lot) a few times,” said sophomore nursing major Julia Williams. “Other times I’ve had to park in freshman overflow.”

Despite the increase, some students said the university is not doing enough to balance the increases in student enrollment with the number of parking spaces.

“If they’re going to start accepting more freshmen, they need to build more parking,” Riley Knight, a sophomore acting and radio-TV-film major, said.

Kendal Rader, a sophomore speech pathology major, agreed.

“To me, the attitude is, ‘Eh, it’s always a problem everywhere, so you just have to deal with it,’ and that’s not how it should be, especially at a private university,” Rader said.