Fifth campus identity forum offers solutions to fix campus parking, attracts low attendance

A remedy to Central Michigan University's perceived parking dilemma was proposed Tuesday during the fifth master planning forum.

By eliminating some of the smaller lots on campus and moving them into a few larger ones, AECOM Technology Corporation designer Ian Lockwood said he hoped to elevate tensions related to parking.

"With this sort of plan, you will be able to find a parking space in the first lot you went to," Lockwood said. "Currently, there is a perception in some areas that there is a parking shortage. Through this initiative, that perception will go away."

The campus identity forums are being used to inform representatives from AECOM on proposed changes to the project based on feedback from students, staff and community members.

About 20 Central Michigan University students, faculty, staff and community members were in attendance Tuesday within the first hour of the first of three forums. A few more than 50 people showed up before the forum's conclusion, according to CMU Communications.

Lockwood outlined other proposed changes, which focused on continuing efforts to improve wayfinding, or campus navigation, open spaces and accessibility in areas like the Anspach Quad, Fabiano Botanical Gardens and the university's Admissions and Library tours for prospective and visiting students.

"We're at a time where we're looking at implementing the little pieces of the master plan," Lockwood said.

The forums will also focus on including making the campus more accessible, improving the overall landscaping and creating spaces where student interaction can be amplified, he said.


Renovating the Anspach Quad

Peter Sechler, director of urban design and master planning in AECOM's Orlando, Fla. office, said the Anspach Quad is an important area as most classes required of all students are held in the buildings surrounding the quad.

"This is the home base," Sechler said. "Students are really going to expand their minds here, so you really look at the Anspach Quad in a different way.

Stephen Lawrence, vice president of Facilities Management, spoke of Anspach Quad's importance to the campus environment and the potential design changes to the area.

"It makes the area more conducive for use by a variety of people," Lawrence said. "It also will maintain pedestrian traffic from building to building."

Lawrence was disappointed with the low student attendance, but understood it was bad timing as many students had mid-term exams this week.

One student who attended, Chicago junior Tamika Taylor, said she liked many of the ideas and their student focus.

"(CMU) is sending a message that they care," Taylor said. "They're saying since we're spending money here, they're going to give us something in return"


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