The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Thursday May 19th

PR Lot Faces Another Semester Without Gate

But security keeps lot safe, officials say.

Students have been storing cars in the park-and-ride lot on Estes Drive for more than a semester now, but a secured entry gate has yet to be installed.

No timetable has been set for the completion of construction on a gate at the PR lot, one of UNC's largest spaces for student parking. Department of Public Safety officials originally hoped to have the gates in place by the end of the fall semester.

But DPS officials said Tuesday that other gates being installed at on-campus parking lots are nearing completion.

The PR lot underwent a massive expansion over the summer with the addition of 600 new spots. Students have been parking in the lot since the beginning of the fall semester.

Before the project, only those with a valid permit could enter the lot after swiping a UNC ONE Card at the entrance gate.

Cheryl Stout, assistant director of parking services, said she is not sure when the PR lot's gate will be completed. As it stands now, the lot is accessible to anyone, but security guards are posted around the clock to keep the cars safe, she said.

Between August and December of last year, there were no reported cases of breaking and entering in the PR lot, said Jeff McCracken, deputy director of DPS. He attributed this to the security presence in the lot.

"There used to be a lot more before we had the gate or security," McCracken said.

Renovations began on the PR lot last May. Stout said that the plan ultimately will be successful but that the initial timetable was inaccurate.

"It was a very ambitious project to have done in three to four months," Stout said of the lot's overhaul. "The parking spaces were all paved by August, but the gate construction is still going on."

The delays were unavoidable and will not cost the University any additional money, Stout said.

"Most of the projects were really rushed through," she said.

"Anytime you start running wires like this, you have the potential for delay."

Stout said that elsewhere on campus, gates have been installed at the Public Safety, Morehead and Porthole lots. In addition, she said, construction on gates at the Cobb and 440 North and South lots should be finished by the end of the month.

"They just have card readers that need to be installed, but most of the contractor work is done," Stout said.

She added that construction began on these lots last semester to keep out cars that do not have permits. Other campus parking lots might be gated in the future, but planned construction will make it impractical in coming years, Stout said.

"We might have some more surface lots on campus, but they are scheduled for other construction in coming months."

Staff Writer Brian Hudson contributed to this article.

The University Editor can be reached at udesk@unc.edu.

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