Security issues, weather put brakes on parking lot opening

IUS Horizon

Parking on the IU Southeast campus has become a woe to many students during the past years. The IUS Physical Plant has been working throughout the semester to add a new parking lot, but security issues and weather problems have forced its opening to be delayed.

The new parking lot, which will be next to Evergreen West Parking Lot and the Activities Building, had a tentative opening date set for early March. However, it has been delayed until mid-to-late March and must be deemed safe before opening.

Jim Wolfe, director of the IUS Physical Plant, said weather was the primary reason for the lot’s new deadline.

“The ground is too wet for some of the things that still need to be done,” he said.  “Crews still need to contour the dirt edge along Southern Drive, and then light poles have to be put up, among other things.”

A large amount of rain has caused contractors, Temple and Temple to wait until the ground firms before they continue with their work, Wolfe said.

The parking lot cost IU Southeast $623,000 and will be equipped with two security towers similar to the towers found in other lots, but with  an added 360-degree swivel capability.

“Unlike other cameras on campus that are equipped with a fixed-position monitoring system,”  Charlie Edelen, IUS Police chief, said. “These can be rotated to see an area surrounding the security tower, which is a great benefit.”

It is as simple as IUS Police receiving an emergency alert from a tower, he said, before an officer can use the computer to select one of the two cameras and directly observe the location.

Wolfe said electrical crews must first install the emergency phone base when the weather cooperates before they can install the call towers.

Edelen said the IUS Police are making an effort to have cameras placed on any new security towers installed on campus.

“Especially in this parking lot, which is near a wooded area, we felt the need for more-than-adequate security,” he said.  “In the past we didn’t have the option to put cameras on towers, but from here on out we are making sure new towers come equipped with cameras.”

The need for the new lot, he said, came as a joint decision by the IUS Police and the physical plant because of the overflow lot becoming increasingly overcrowded. The new parking lot is taking the place of the old overflow area, which was being filled on a regular basis.

“We were always seeing students driving up and down the rows, searching for a spot,” he said.  “Of course, this past year we had a significant drop in student numbers and the need for a new parking lot seems less important.  We assume the new lot will be essential to student parking near in the future.”

He said the final decision of when to open the parking lot rests on the shoulders of the IUS Police, and they are never opened without being well-lit and safe.