By Leah Wishert
New faces and more opportunities to meet people are all a part of the experience and excitement that come with a new school year.
The campus itself is also undergoing growth and change. One of the construction projects that will take place to accommodate more of the Cru involves closing King Street during the fall semester. The street currently runs along Stribling Hall, where freshman undeclared major Nicolyn Purcella lives.
She sees the positive outcomes from the adjustment.
“Purple and gold is going green. I think it is smart that the school is becoming pedestrian oriented,” she said.
Many people already ride their bikes and walk to class. To Purcella, it appears that students who do drive to classes have a hard time finding parking spaces. However, more spots will be deignated.
Senior Vice President for Campus Planning and Support Services Edd Martin emphasizes that UMHB is reaching toward the goal of making it easier for students to walk to classes and not need to drive.
“The intent is to turn King Street into a pedestrian mall that will maintain fire access in emergencies,” Martin said.
Most permanent parking will be removed from the street. Some may remain temporarily in front of Mayborn and behind Presser.
He said, “Parking will be available behind Presser and the lower parking lot south of Mayborn for the immediate time frame, but eventually that too will be removed for the new student union and football stadium.
“We expect to have new parking available along the railroad north of McLane, Beall and Hardy as well as on University Drive.”
Construction is to begin on the road around October.
“Much of the early work will consist of underground utility work for water, gas, electric and waste water, along with network infrastructure,” Martin said.
The master plan ultimately involves all parking moving toward the exterior parameters of UMHB, in sight of becoming a pedestrian campus.
Junior psychology major and art minor Garret Rodriguez spends time in Presser for his classes. Though the street runs behind the building, he does not feel negatively about the street no longer being in use for drivers.
“I’m indifferent on the road closing only because I tend to walk around everywhere,” he said.
Both Purcella and Rodriguez express that though the change does not affect them much, walking across campus in the Texas heat is an unpleaseant experience.
“Since we will be walking more, I vote that they plant some shade trees so we don’t fry in the 1,000-degree weather,” Purcella said.
Rodriguez thinks that another benefit of the project is that students who live off campus will deal with less stress when trying to find parking places.
He said, “With one less street, more students that live in dorms will walk to classes instead of driving to them and taking up spots for those students that commute.”