The closure of a roadway running through East Carolina University’s main campus will minimize the potential for collisions between pedestrians and vehicles and encourage bicycling and walking.
A portion of Founders Drive closed July 16 in adherence with the university’s master plan for the campus, adopted by the ECU Board of Trustees in 2010. Motorists will no longer be able to use the route to drive between Fifth and 10th streets.
A route through campus will be open to emergency response vehicles. From Fifth Street, Founders Drive will remain open to vehicles at Wright Circle –around the fountain and to Wright Auditorium – and for right turns on to Faculty Way.
Drivers entering campus from 10th Street will be able to turn left down Duncan Court, which runs behind the Flanagan and Slay buildings and provides access to Student Health Services.
Fences are rerouting pathways around construction areas on campus.
East of that area, a parking lot will also close between the Austin and Rawl buildings at the base of Wright Plaza. Approximately 50 parking spots will be eliminated. Emails were sent to the ECU community and specifically to people who regularly park in the area.
Over the next several months, construction crews will tear out the roadway and parking lot and replace it with green space, landscaping and a 20-foot-wide, permeable multi-use path.
Fencing has been installed to ensure pedestrian safety while construction is under way. Officials ask that the campus community and visitors please heed the directional signs and not trespass on the work site. Additionally, motorists should not drop off passengers on Founders Drive in order to minimize traffic and clear the way for deliveries, emergency vehicles and Student Health Services patients.
“We apologize for the inconvenience this project will cause,” said Bill Koch, associate vice chancellor for environmental health and public safety, “but it is necessary to create a safer pedestrian and bicycle corridor on campus for those traveling between classes, residence halls and other key student, faculty, and staff destinations on our busy core campus.”
“The atmosphere you’ve got on the mall, we’re actually extending that and pulling it through the rest of campus,” said Michael Talton, ECU architect and project manager. “I think it’s going to be really nice.”
The work is scheduled for completion in December.
Summer projects on campus
Construction projects costing nearly $10 million took place over the summer at ECU to improve two residence halls, several sidewalks and a space inside Joyner Library, according to university plans approved by the UNC Board of Governors.
A $6.2 million project at White Residence Hall on the west end of Main Campus modernized all 201 bedrooms in the 10-story, 45-year-old building. Work included demolishing all built-in furniture, removing asbestos and updating interior finishes. Bill Bagnell of the ECU Campus Operations staff said the project will be paid for from housing receipts and is expected to be completed in August.
A hallway is painted in White Residence Hall as part of renovations that took place on campus during the summer.
In a separate $800,000 project, part of the roof on Todd Dining Hall will be replaced as well as some windows in the large cupula over the main dining room. Bagnell said the project should be completed by October and will be paid for from dining receipts,
Inside Joyner Library, a $364,000 project is renovating about 4,000 square feet of space around the circulation desk. Officials said the project includes relocating the Java City coffee shop to reduce noise in the library. Some rest rooms in that area of the library also will be expanded. Bagnell said the project will be paid for with funds from the ECU Langford Endowment and should be completed by August.
Bagnell said ECU is finalizing plans to build a new, free-standing dance studio. He said estimates are the 16,000-square-foot facility will cost $1.9 million. An exact location for the studio has not yet been determined, he said. Plans call for the studio to include three 2,500-square-foot dance studios, faculty and staff offices, shower and dressing rooms and storage space. Officials said the facility is necessary for the program, which is within the School of Theatre and Dance, to become fully accredited.
Plans also are nearing completion to renovate apartments in nine residence halls that are home to residence hall coordinators. The existing residence hall coordinator apartments will be demolished and rebuilt to meet required code and accessibility requirements. The project should cost around $2 million, Bagnell said.
Other projects that were approved to get under way this summer were delayed because they couldn’t be finished by the time students return. Among those delayed until next year were a $1.5 million project to upgrade hearing and cooling systems in Fletcher Residence Hall. Similarly delayed was a $943,000 project to upgrade the walkways and patios around Todd Dining Hall on College Hill. The project will improve access to the dining hall from six nearby residence halls as well as increase pedestrian safety along College Hill Drive.