CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Parking at UNCC is going high tech. The school becomes the first university in North Carolina to install NuPark, a system that reads virtual parking permits with license plate readers.
"I drive about 45 minutes," said sophomore A.J. Wilds. "It's summer, so I can get here 15 minutes early for class and I'm fine, but regular semester fall or spring, I have to get here 30 to an hour early and i find a parking spot in the middle of nowhere," Wild explained.
Nearly 80 percent of UNCC's students live off campus. A growing number rent near campus, but students like Wild make the drive to class.
A plastic placard hangs son the rear view mirror of his Nissan, granting him parking privileges on campus.
However, UNCC is doing away with placards and going virtual. NuPark will enable student to skip long lines to apply for parking permits and go online to sign up.
The virtual permits will be linked to their license plates and will be scanned as they enter and leave lots and garages.
According to NuPark, university staff will be able to monitor parking capacity, pinpoint location of a car or verify if a student's permit is paid up from a control center in real time.
"Personally, I think it's better for security," Wild declared. "If they strictly enforce this, I bet we will have, or hopefully at least a little more parking," he said.
However, some students say more parking spots may not be worth the feeling that "Big Brother" is watching.
"It's definitely a little unsettling knowing that they will be taking pictures of my license plate and car," said Nathan Burley, sophomore at UNCC. "I don't know what to expect, but we'll see," he said.
The system should be fully functional by the start of the Fall 2017 semester.