Detailed Summary: When I started my individual evaluation of the Vet-Med campus, I realized that the campus itself could become an amenity that attracts visitors, which would help increase bicycle/pedestrian traffic along the Lincoln Avenue corridor. However, in its current state, the campus presents a very “closed off” appearance to travelers on Lincoln Avenue. This is mainly because of the dense vegetation between the campus and the roadway, so my project focuses on opening up the views into campus. While opening up the views into the campus, I also want to create a prominent entrance for the entire Vet-Med campus instead of the multiple “secondary” entrances that currently serve the facility. This grand entrance will help to improve the first impressions of new visitors and provide a lasting memory for returning visitors.
The main entrance road would terminate at the front doors of the Basic Sciences building, where a new entrance canopy would add visual interest to the facade of the building and would improve the visibility of the main entrance, which is currently hidden behind landscaping. The canopy would also provide much needed cover for people that are waiting for the bus. In addition to the main entrance, I am proposing that the Vet-Med campus be unified with a loop road that would connect the Clinic area with the Basic Science building. This would necessitate the removal of the Hazelwood/Lincoln intersection, but would make the campus easier to navigate for visitors by not forcing them back onto Lincoln Avenue if they turn into the wrong parking lot. The loop road would also unify the campus by having all building addresses on the same roadway (they are currently identified as being on Lincoln Avenue and Hazelwood Drive).
The main entrance road would be flanked by a pair of ponds, which would serve an aesthetic roll and also serve as elements in a revised storm water management plan. These ponds, would combine with a linear series of wet prairies to create a system of basins that will slow and clean storm water runoff. The ponds will be defined by V shaped walls finished with a weathering steel outer surface. Each wall will feature a series of openings that will release water after rain events. Visitors would be able to identify how intense the storms were by how many of the wall openings were actively flowing water after the storm. This would create an educational element to the project, both for university students and visitors alike. In addition to the main entrance feature, a series of rain gardens would be also installed in existing depressions along the northwest side of the campus to further control water runoff.
The ponds would also become an amenity area for the Vet-Med department and the rest of campus. Walking trails would circulate through the area, providing a much needed opportunity for students, faculty, and staff to take “exercise breaks.” Several areas for outdoor tables and chairs would provide opportunities for people to get outside during lunch and break times. Signage around the ponds and wet prairies, explaining the benefit of the structures, and the native plants used within them, would add an additional educational component to the project.