Wayfinding signs to be installed on campus
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Wayfinding signs to be installed on campus

Beginning this academic year, the Macalester campus will receive a facelift designed to make it much more navigable. As part of a campus maintenance project, uniform signage will replace the current wayfinding materials.

The new signage will surround campus entrances and parking lots, and replace the white signposts located outside of most campus buildings. It will also provide directions and maps at entry points along Snelling Avenue and Macalester Street, and in campus parking lots.

According to a document produced by the Campus Wayfinding Council, the new signage is meant to “convey a welcoming presence to visitors, especially admissions visitors.”

“A primary goal is that first-time visitors—often
prospective students and their families—have an easier time finding parking and the admissions office,” said Director of Communications David Warch.

Though the central motivation for the project is practical, the council also hopes to address aesthetic concerns.

According to the same document, other project objectives include implementing “consistency in campus signage” and installing signs that “fit in with the look and feel of campus while also conveying the minimal amount of information.”

“We want the new signs to fit with the look of campus, which is more park like,” said Vice President for Advancement Tommy Bonner.

The new treatments will consist of black signboards with simple white lettering, and the interior campus signage will match the style of the external arrival treatments. Additionally, colored banners will delineate different sections of campus parking lots, making it easier for visitors to find parking for special events. The committee also plans to install banners above the signposts located at the corners of campus. Finally, informational kiosks featuring an updated campus map will also appear near entry points and parking lots to assist new visitors as they navigate campus.

This project is unconnected to the recent renovation of the Janet Wallace Fine Arts Center and the ongoing construction of the new studio arts building. However, the Campus Wayfinding Council considered these changes while planning the signage project.

“Some aspects of the renovation influenced some of the decisions,” Warch said. “For example, when [the] Janet Wallace Studio Art phase is complete there will be a new visitor parking lot just north of the building. This lot will have a campus map kiosk to help orient first-time visitors to campus.”

Since it is unrelated to other construction projects, the signage will be funded through Technology & Equipment Maintenance funds. These funds are specifically allocated for large-scale technology and campus maintenance projects, and they exist independently of the regular college budget.

The organization and planning for the project incorporated individuals from several departments and offices across campus. Members of the Campus Wayfinding Council include representatives from College Advancement, Admissions, Student Affairs, Campus Center and Conferences, and Facilities Services. A larger group provided input to the sign designers and the final designs were vetted with senior staff and the President’s Council.

Though the council hopes for an early completion date, the weather will dictate the project’s timeline.

“We are hopeful that a few signs can be installed this fall, but the footers for the signs need to be installed before the ground freezes, so how much can get done before spring/summer is up in the air,” Warch said.

November 1, 2013

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