Facilities Management / University

Fifth master plan forum series will cover outdoor features, touring paths at CMU

The university's campus identity project, through its slew of master planning forums, is trying to add more 'school spirit' to its campus tours for prospective students. The route and buildings used could be changed, and new signage could be added, as well. The Engineering and Technology is a stop on that tour. (Morgan Taylor/Staff Photographer)

The university’s campus identity project, through its slew of master planning forums, is trying to add more ‘school spirit’ to its campus tours for prospective students. The route and buildings used could be changed, and new signage could be added, as well. The Engineering and Technology is a stop on that tour. (Morgan Taylor/Staff Photographer)

Central Michigan University’s campus identity project will continue with a fifth round of open forums on Tuesday.

The open forums, called charrettes by university officials, are scheduled through Thursday and will focus on campus navigation, student interaction, school spirit and utilizing open spaces.

Five areas will be the focus of contractor AECOM Technology Corporation’s three-day forum, including gateways into campus, the Anspach Quad, the Fabiano Botanical Gardens and the library and admissions tours.

Pete Sechler, an AECOM designer, said one area they will be focusing on is a path through campus, which highlights the standout points, a path often used for campus tours. The Office of Admissions uses this route often as guides take potential future CMU students on tours of campus.

“We are working on a series of spaces that are roughly aligned to the admissions walk,” Sechler said. “It is an important alignment for recruiting and helping people understand the campus. It also happens to be the route which goes through the heart of almost all of the key functions of the campus.”

Krista Casey, assistant director of admissions, helps oversee the campus student ambassadors who lead the tours. She said the admissions walk is very important to attracting students in showing the tour groups around campus.

“The nice thing about the tour is that we do not just take the prospective students through the nicer parts of campus,” Casey said. “We really show them all of the buildings on campus and what they are going to experience as a student here. So they see the typical incoming freshman residence hall, the Education Building as well as buildings like Brooks, Dow and the library.”

Casey said a focus on building anticipation for attending CMU should be a key cornerstone of the walk, but isn’t.

“There is not really any school spirit on the tour route,” Casey said. “We could really work on making CMU and the school spirit we have shown a little bit better.”

Casey said she hopes this will be addressed through the campus identity project.

“I remember being very impressed with how (other) campuses were set up with all of the different posters and flags around (their) campus,” she said. “I know they are really trying to improve street signs, but I hope they can take that a little bit further and even make those maroon and gold.”

Linda Slater, director of plant engineering and planning, said displaying school spirit is something they have considered and are hoping to act on.

Slater added that there will be a number of different ideas discussed, but as this is the fifth forum, they hope to begin going more in-depth on topics.

“We are going to design a system to put more maroon and gold banners around campus,” Slater said. “This signage will have more CMU to it.”

Stephen Lawrence, vice president of Facilities Management, said while many ideas for changes to outdoor features will be discussed, signage is important.

Proposed ideas for signage include the regular parking lots, pedestrian and vehicular signs, new ideas like 3D maps and other separate visuals to help visitors and students navigate the campus.

“The signage will be directed at first-time visitors,” Lawrence said. “The campus can be pretty daunting to some during their first visit.”

The forums are set to take place in the Bovee University Center Rotunda. The forums are scheduled at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, 8 a.m. on Wednesday and 4 p.m. on Thursday. The two final forums are scheduled to be held in the U.C. St. Claire Room.

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