Signs point to clearer path

Students attending SHSU this fall will notice a multitude of new signs surrounding the campus concerning directions and parking.John McCroskey, the Physical Plant assistant director for facilities and construction, said the total cost of the project is about $500,000, which includes design, construction and installation of the signs. The project was financed through the university’s General Use Fee Fund and took approximately six months to complete. Construction was handled by Intex United, which is based out of Houston.McCroskey said the school sought to replace the old signs in order to enhance the campus’s appearance.”Partly because we were trying to improve the image of the college to make it more attractive to new students,” McCroskey said.He said the old signs, which were brown with white lettering, were boring and contained inaccurate information about the buildings. The goal of the new signs is to improve finding one’s way around campus.”There were directional signs that were so cluttered with information about different places on campus that people driving down the street didn’t have time to read everything,” he said.Comments to the Physical Plant about the signage have been mostly positive, though there has been some negative feedback that the letters on the parking signs were too small. McCroskey said the letters seem narrower than they were originally drafted in the plans.”A lot of people are complementary,” McCroskey said. “We never had anyone say they’re ugly. The only complaint is the size of the letters on the parking signs, and I agree with that.”Some initial problems with installing the signs included some of them being posted in front of the wrong building, some incorrect spellings and inaccurate information on others. McCroskey said the problems are typical of the situation, and have for the most part been fixed, with a few other mistakes still being corrected.McCroskey said that he was pleased with the new signage around campus, and that he attributes the improvements to President James Gaertner.Paula Vernick, assistant to the President for special projects, said the project was the result of her involvement with the Huntsville Convention and Visitors Bureau in a review prepared for Chandler, Brooks & Donahoe, Inc., a marketing and development firm. “As the committee reviewed the recommendations, what surfaced clearly throughout the document was a lack of way-finding and location signage throughout the city and at important visitor destinations,” Vernick said. “The committee decided this would be one of the major items to address first.”Vernick said the signage was also addressed as part of President Gaertner’s desire to improve the campus community and community tone.”Due to limited budget, the project is not entirely comprehensive, but we have covered the major buildings and campus facilities,” she said. “We direct people to buildings rather than functions hoping that will call for less signage change when departments and offices move to different buildings. However, we are using materials that weather well and are easily changed if necessary.”Vernick added that work on the signs is nearing completio and should been finished by October.”We still have a few signs to finish and some changes on others, but we are very close and hope to be done by the end of the month,” she said.Along with the new signs, the university will also be installing three new entrance gateways made of stone and wrought iron beginning on September 15. The main gateway will be at the corner of Bowers Blvd. and Sam Houston Avenue, with the secondary gateways at Sycamore Lane and Bowers Blvd. and Montgomery Road and Bearkat Village. The cost of the new entranceways is included in the price for the new signage.Students have for the most part expressed positive comments about the new signs on campus. Senior Rebecca Elliott said the new signs improve the school’s look, but is concerned about the half million-dollar price tag.”I think it was a good addition to the university, but that was a little too much money spent on it is what I think personally,” Elliott said.Despite the cost, Elliott said the new signs are much better than the old ones.”The other ones were rusted, and you could see where things had been scraped off and put back on,” she said.Junior Winfield Williams agreed the new signs are an improvement.”I think they’re pretty snazzy,” Williams said.Williams added the cost of the signs is an even trade for the services they provide.”You’ve got to take the good with the bad,” he said. “They’re a hell of a lot better than our old signs. People can find their way around better now.”

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