Tarleton turns houses into parking spots
By Denise Harroff-
The campus is growing both upward and outward this summer, which is noticeable due to all of the construction. No doubt that students will have noticed the heavy machinery, the safety fencing and the hot wash toilet – amongst all of the other construction essentials. This is because Tarleton is, as it has done in summers past, constructing new buildings and remodeling current ones. This summer, however, students will also notice that the university is expanding into residential areas. The university is buying houses and apartment buildings along the outskirts of campus in order to make room for more buildings and parking lots.
In a recent interview, Kent Styron, the university’s director of risk management and compliance, said that Tarleton is buying properties nearby that are “located in areas where it is sensible to provide parking and potential green space for existing facilities or buildings currently being constructed.”
He said some of these properties are located in “the area south of Memorial Stadium and north of Heritage Hall.” Styron said that the ruins of what used to be the Landmark Apartments on McNeill and Lillian streets have also been purchased by the university in order to extend its borders.
Although the campus is expanding, Styron said that new parking lots are also in the works.
“Other larger tracts are being considered closer to campus to create new parking opportunities,” he said. Plans include having these lots finished by the start of classes in August.
In order to maintain progression, Tarleton must continue to buy properties outside of the campus’ perimeter. This leaves some students and property owners in fear of the threat of eminent domain, in which private property would be legally sold from property owners for public use.
When asked if Stephenville residents should expect effects of eminent domain to take place due to the university’s growth, Styron replied that it has “not been discussed as a viable tool for land acquisitions.”
“The university is a good neighbor and works with the community,” said Styron. He added that most property owners approached by the university with the intent to buy have been willing to sell their properties. “We will continue to look for opportunities to acquire land that would well serve the university’s natural growth and expansion.”
Also, after the torrential rains the area expected last month, students may be curious as to whether campus construction is still on schedule or not.
When asked if the floods set-back Tarleton’s plans, Styron said that the construction sites of the parking lots have not been affected. He did, however, mention that “the contractor completing Integrity Hall has increased their labor presence in order to meet the fall opening.”
Even though there are multiple tasks at hand, Styron added that all “construction schedules are being met at this time” and that the various parking lots and buildings will be complete and “ready for the fall semester.”