Though the commercial parking lot at the corner of Lawson and Merrick streets is conveniently located across from the newly renovated Pearson Cafeteria, it is not free.
Any student who thinks it’s free is in for a headache.
Students who park there should prepare to fork over $200 to the owner, Jimmie Young, for towing and storage.
“I honestly thought it was for students,” said mass communication sophomore Lea Randolph.
“I never noticed it [the parking lot] before.”
Despite the sign at the entrance of the lot informing people that the lot is private, many students make the mistake of parking there.
“I came from the cafeteria looking for my car, and it was gone,” said family and consumer science sophomore Curtisha Sellars.
“I was livid.”
Sellars was not the only student to suffer the steep towing and storage fee at Action Towing.
“I saw the towing sign, but I only stepped away to the convenience store for like 10 minutes,” said business management junior Danielle Copeland.
Copeland said she returned to her Ford Explorer while it was getting towed, but she still had to redeem it at the towing lot.
Young’s lot is mostly used by faculty and staff, who pay $30-$40 per month for an assigned parking space.
Since the cafeteria opened, faculty are starting to see more students park in their assigned places.
“It’s only happened to me once, but that only happened since the cafeteria opened,” said Charmaine McKissick-Melton, associate professor of English and mass communication.
Faculty and staff use Young’s commercial lot because they have difficulty getting assigned campus parking.
Michele Ware, associate professor of English, used Young’s lot for two years while waiting for her assigned parking space in the Farrison-Newton Communications Building parking lot.
She pays $250 a year for the University-owned space.
“I waited on the waiting list for seven years before getting a spot behind the Communications building,” said Ware.
She said that Young’s lot was close, convenient and safe.
Ware said that before she began using the lot, she used to park “way down Dupree Street.”
“Sometimes I left after dark, and I didn’t feel safe at all,” she said.
Before becoming a dirt parking lot, the 601 E. Lawson Street location was home to an abandoned house with a long history of housing code violations.
The Durham Department of Housing issued a demolition order in December 1999 after a 1998 fire.
Young bought the property in 1998 from James and Carolyn Walker for $42,000.
He then demolished the house and opened the private lot in 2005.
It was the first private lot serving NCCU.
Sellars said that she will steer clear of the lot from now on.
“I definitely know not to chance parking there because they will tow your car in a heartbeat,” she said.
“There’s nothing like seeing your car one minute, and not seeing it the next.”