California State University, Fullerton

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New Plaza Under Construction at College Park

Upgrades underway will improve safety, access, convenience and traffic flow

Dec. 5, 2012

Behind dark green fencing, a construction crew uses earth movers and other heavy equipment to remove asphalt and concrete at the northwest entrance to the College Park Building.

The crew is working to make way for a new entrance that will offer better and safer accessibility to those coming to the building. Plans call for the work to be completed in mid-January in time for the beginning of the spring semester.

"I had been thinking of changing the front of the building for some time," said Frank Mumford, executive director of the university's Auxiliary Services Corp., which owns and operates the building. "I have long believed that the entrance was not very friendly with its big flower bed that you had to walk around to enter."

Jay Bond, associate vice president for facilities planning and management, agreed, calling the building's entrance "clunky," and the conflicts between vehicles and pedestrians "unsafe."

"The entrance was fine for the intent of the building as it was originally built, when most of the individuals entering the structure came in at 8 a.m. and stayed until 5 p.m.," explained Bond.

Now with university offices and especially classrooms, large numbers of campus members are entering and leaving the building throughout the day, Bond explained. The narrow steps up to the building hide the entrance and just don't provide the accessibility that the building should have, he added.

In addition, people leaving or heading toward the building had to cross a parking lot, creating a walking and driving hazard, both Bond and Mumford said.

Developed through a collaboration between ASC and the university's Office of Facilities Planning and Management, the new plan calls for a wide plaza that will feature plants, outdoor seating and a wider walkway from the corner of Nutwood and Chapman avenues to the building. Current parking on the west and north sides of the building will end with cul-de-sacs where the plaza begins, eliminating the need for pedestrians to cross traffic in a parking area.

"The frontage will be much more appealing for pedestrians," said Mumford, adding that it will provide an attractive outdoor space for students to meet, study and eat adjacent to the building.

The plaza also will help the 10-story, 200,000-square-foot structure meld with CollegeTown, a proposed 60-acre mix of pedestrian-friendly civic and public spaces, easily accessible by bike, bus and shuttle, where campus and city life can converge. The special district, initially proposed in 2010, covers the area bordered by Nutwood and Chapman avenues, east of State College Boulevard and south of Cal State Fullerton. As part of the CollegeTown proposal is a plan to close off Nutwood Avenue between Titan and Folino drives.

By: Pamela McLaren, 657-278-4852

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