Four solar-powered speed signs have been placed across campus to help enforce the new 20 mph speed limit without increasing the amount of tickets issued. The university will be monitoring roads and move the signs as needed. Brooke Kemp, DN
Campus receives facelift through small projects
While it’s easy to tell when a road is closed or a building is being torn down, it may be hard to spot some of the smaller projects the university works on throughout the year.
Each year, funding is allocated to maintenance and repair based off the campus master plan and the general repair and rehabilitation plan.
“Every building has a spreadsheet that says, ‘Here's what we need to do to keep it in good working shape,’ from windows to masonry to roofs to mechanical systems, electrical systems,” said Jim Lowe, associate vice president for facilities planning and management. “Not only do we that, do that for academic administrative, we do it for all the sports facilities and residence halls.”
Because of these plans, smaller projects are common throughout the year and summer. However, these projects sometimes mean altering the look of campus.
From adding a vestibule in Woodworth Complex, to remodeling the Atrium, here are some small projects that have been completed or are being wrapped up around campus:
Throughout this summer, the Atrium has been covered up and closed as workers are updating beverage areas, removing the “copper/brass finish” and removing the “half wall at the entrance to the servery,” said Karen Adkins, director of dining services and dining initiatives, in an email.
“We wanted to do a refresh and make more room for our customers,” Adkins said. “As most know, it was crowded and we hope the work we are doing will free up some space.”
Adkins also said “the project is moving along well,” and the Atrium will be reopened Aug. 13.
The Architecture and Miller College of Business Building
Both the Architecture and the Miller College of Business buildings are undergoing construction projects that fall under the category of a “bridge” project.
When a building needs attention, but it’s not quite time for a remodel or new construction project, a “bridge” occurs.
“[A bridge is] a project to get us from here to there, or get us over this period of time that it's going to take to find the right time to request and obtain funding to go in and do a larger scale project,” Lowe said.
In the College of Architecture and Planning, Lowe said the university is updating studios to “enhance the teaching opportunity,” and in the Miller College of Business, classrooms are being updated in several ways.
“The lighting was substandard, the ceilings, the finishes — it just wasn’t conductive to a good teaching environment,” Lowe said. “So, we’re making that investment now to allow, again, enhancements in teaching until which time we can go in and replace entire systems.”
The projects will be complete by Aug. 10.
Earl Yestingsmeier Golf Center
While the Earl Yestingsmeier Golf Center has been completed, work is still being done around it.
To improve the complex’s “curb appeal,” the university is currently landscaping around its grounds, Lowe said.
There are also many other locations throughout campus where the university is updating the landscaping.
“You may drive through campus and say, ‘Why are we digging that area of campus?’ but there’s always a plan,” Lowe said. “Number one, make it look better, number two make it more maintenance friendly, environmentally friendly.”
Jo Ann Gora Student Recreation and Wellness Center
In 2010, the Jo Ann Gora Student Recreation and Wellness Center was opened, and since then, it has seen numerous students and activities.
Because of its regular use, Lowe said the indoor turf is in need of updating and is being replaced this summer.
There also will be workers throughout the building replacing fluorescent lights with LED lights to “reduce our electrical use and reduce our carbon footprint,” Lowe said.
To avoid an increase in tickets after legally changing the speed limit on certain roads around campus to 20 mph, the university purchased four solar-powered speed signs.
“Their purpose is to slow you down, not to give you a ticket,” Lowe said. “When you see it and it flashes and it says, ‘Slow down,’ or it says 20 mph above it and you’re doing 35, what do you normally do? You slow down.”
After lowering the speed limit — which Lowe said helps expand a drivers “cone of vision,” allowing them see more pedestrians around them, and reduces the chance of being injured if hit by a vehicle — he has received “comments that would suggest it’s too slow.”
“If you measure the distance between the south part of campus to Bethel, it’s one mile. In one mile, traveling at 30 mph versus 20 mph — so 30 versus 20 — it only takes 60 more seconds to get through campus,” Lowe said.
Now, the university will monitor roads on campus to determine what areas drivers typically speed on and move the signs around campus as needed rather than purchasing more.
Woodworth Complex Vestibule
The university updated the entrance to Woodworth Complex facing Emens Auditorium by adding a vestibule with a revolving door.
“The doors ended up at Woodworth just being open all the time and then you had this rush of cold air and you couldn’t do anything about it,” Lowe said. “The reason [revolving doors are] installed is because it creates a barrier so that cold air doesn’t rush in.”
In fact, throughout campus, many residence halls have been designed to have vestibules or revolving doors.
“If you’ve noticed with all our new residence halls — they being the Allen Hargrave and George Edwards — have supported, as a standard, the door style because of energy savings and the fact that there are so many students coming and going,” Lowe said.