With most of the students who make up Western Carolina University’s surging enrollment arriving on campus with their own vehicles, they will need somewhere to park. That’s why the WCU Board of Trustees in September unanimously approved a design for a structured parking facility on an existing surface lot between Ramsey Regional Activity Center and Hennon Stadium, as well as the issuance of special obligation bonds to finance its construction.
The 1,000-space parking facility, WCU’s first, will consist of three levels, with ample greenspace around it for tailgating prior to sporting events. Because of its proximity to N.C. Highway 107, it will become the university’s primary parking area for commuting students, with shuttle service to the central core of campus.
University officials are in the process of evaluating options for a construction timeline, said Mike Byers, vice chancellor for administration and finance.
Known as the North Baseball Lot, the site is one of three approved by the trustees in March 2018 as possible locations for future parking structures. The two other sites approved by the trustees are the former marching band practice field near Reid Gymnasium and a tiered lot behind Hunter Library.
All three newly designated sites for parking structures have current surface parking areas that are below street level, he said. “This means we can create multiple layers of additional parking without creating too massive of a structure,” Byers said.