Crimson building signs speckle the IU-Bloomington campus’s 1,936 acres – but the campus’s boundaries can be ambiguous, IU landscape architect Mia Williams said. The new IU gateway construction on the corner of Seventh Street and Indiana Avenue is an effort to clarify those borders.
The gateway will resemble the existing gateways at the corners of Third and Union Streets, 10th Street and Woodlawn Avenue and three other locations. The University’s name is engraved into a limestone crescent atop a bed of flowers. Williams said the base underneath the limestone will be made out of granite because of its weather resistance. Limestone can freeze, thaw and disintegrate.
The University is dedicating $340,000 for the gateway construction project, said Beth Feickert, an IU capital planning project specialist.
During the past 10 years, people looking for campus offices have driven all the way to College Mall and not realized they had left campus, Williams said.
“In the course of our master plan study and development, our consulting team and our own professionals here at IU realized that it would be really a good idea if we had some indications of where campus proper started and ended,” Williams said. “That's what those elements are intended to be: place-making features that give you that sense of arrival or departure.”
The construction at Seventh Street and Indiana Avenue began in the middle of September and is set to end the first week of December, Williams said. She said the Facility Operations team has taken lengths to keep pedestrians safe by planning when sidewalks are closed and clearly designating the construction area. They have also coordinated with the city about closing a lane of traffic on Indiana Avenue.
Haley Bandy, an IU Campus Bus Service student supervisor, said the corner of Seventh Street and Indiana Avenue is always a tricky turn, and the construction adds to that challenge.
“We are adaptable, but there is limited space and streets to work with, given the sizes of the buses,” Bandy said in an email. “The fencing and barrels definitely reduce visibility, even in a bus.”
Facility Operations pushed the construction start date from August to September because that's when the contractor had scheduled delivery of the granite, which is hard to find in Indiana.
“(The project) could have started in the end of August,” Williams said. “But imagine what it would be like if they made a big mess, tore everything up, had the fence just standing there, and then nothing was happening for weeks while they're waiting for the granite.”
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