University to reconstruct Fifth Street

Fri, 2007-12-07 13:04 -- univcomm
December 7, 2007

To support a safer, pedestrian-friendly roadway for students at Anderson University, the university will start a $2 million project on Fifth Street and College Avenue during the summer.

The major portion of the project will be to widen and add a median on Fifth Street, said Joe Royer, executive director of Facilities and Property Management for AU. The road will be similar to University Boulevard after the construction.

“That’s the general intent,” he said. “It won’t be exactly the same, but it will have the same feel as University Boulevard.”

In 1994, the city of Anderson and the university partnered to widen and add a median to University Boulevard.

“The idea was to give students a place to pause,” Royer said.

The project added a pedestrian stop on the median, landscaping and scored concrete to give drivers a “slow-down” warning.

“The different sound helps them understand they’re in a different kind of zone,” Royer said.

The work on University Boulevard was paid for by the university. The work on Fifth Street will come from a federal grant.

“It’s a project that has been in the works for a long time,” Royer said. “To see it come to fruition, it’s exciting.”

The project will be funded through the Transportation Equity Act, which was signed into law in August 2005. Rep. Mike Pence, R-Indiana, secured about $16 million in funding for projects in his jurisdiction. Two million dollars were earmarked to “reduce street width and build pedestrian islands around the campus of Anderson University,” according to the 2005 press release from Pence’s office. The release also noted that the project would address pedestrian safety concerns.

Anderson University donated land for right-of-way to the city of Anderson so the road project could take place. The Board of Public Works approved a right-of-way agreement with AU on Monday.

Michael Spyers, city engineer, said the services needed in the agreement would cost the university about $18,500.

Designs for the safety corridor will be done shortly after the new year, Royer said.

“The (University Boulevard project), the university and the city pretty much were in control on that one,” Royer said. “Because its a federal grant, being administered by (the Indiana Department of Transportation), there’s a lot more red tape there.”

The construction is set to be done between graduation on May 10 and the beginning of the fall semester in August, Royer said.

During that time, the administration, the Church of God and Park Place Church of God will still be running. The university is working on alternative routes to use during the summer because of the construction.

“University Boulevard is very beautiful,” Royer said. “It’s just nice, and we’re hopeful this will give the same kind of feel.”

The university will also renovate Smith and Martin halls this summer, adding air conditioning and upgrading electric wiring. Anderson University is currently in the middle of a fundraising campaign that would ultimately bring in $110 million. As of Thursday, the campaign had raised $76 million.

—Jessica Kerman is a reporter for the Herald Bulletin in Anderson. Story republished with permission.

Anderson University is a private Christian university of 2,700 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson continues to be recognized as a top Christian college: in 2008, U.S. News and World Report ranked Anderson University among the best colleges and universities in the Midwest for the fourth consecutive year. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 60 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, education, music, nursing and theology.