By Tristin Burris (Whetstone Staff Writer)
If you started as a freshman this year, when you graduate, you may be leaving a completely different campus.
Once a $1.4 million streetscaping project is completed in three to four years, Wesley College officials say the campus will be more beautiful, safer and pedestrian-friendly.
First proposed in 2008, Dr. William Johnston, president of the college, said the costly project will not be put on the backs of students.
“There will be no tuition hikes,” Johnston said.
However, at least $20,000 in student fee money was used when the Student Government Association donated that much money to the project.
Although the school only has less than a sixth of the total, Johnston said the rest of the cash will be raised through fund-raising.
Wesley has already received about $250,000 through a capital campaign and grants from the state.
“We don’t want this to be funded by the students,” said Eric Nelson, vice president of finances. “We want it funded solely by outside resources.”
Although the plan was submitted to the city council two years ago, the college is still waiting for approval. Nelson expects to get final approval this fall or winter.
Another obstacle holding the process back is Campus Community School, the charter school on Bradford Street. Once CCS relocates this summer, the college will close that street and begin.
“CCS has been a hurdle,” Nelson said.
Johnston said it took a lot of planning and cooperation with Dover, architects and engineers. The school also had to convince neighbors.
“People seem to be very much behind it,” he said. Because of the new streetscape place, Wesley will be a more pedestrian-friendly area.
“There are about 500 students coming from Zimmerman, Malmberg, and Carpenter halls walking across the street, and 500 more crossing the street from Williams, Gooding, and Roe,” Johnston said.
The roads affected by the streetscaping include Bradford Street and parts of Cecil and Fulton streets.
Parking along these streets, however, will also be lost, posing a problem for the college.
The city mandates that any parking lost will have to be made up in another area.
Wesley plans to expand parking behind the International House and Admissions House. Once CCS is relocated, Wesley plans to use that area as college parking, as well as turn the playground into another lot. Nelson says this parking will be open to the public, so students will not have to purchase parking permits.
Tanner Polce, SGA president, said he can see a lot of positives resulting from this streetscape plan.
“It will introduce more green space for students to recreate,” he said. “The closed streets will be turned into beautiful walkways with street poles and benches.”
He also said it will give students the space to throw a Frisbee or kick a soccer ball. Currently, students are unable to do this.
He also said he expects to see an increase in retention rates as well as admission inquiries.
“It will provide an overall safer environment which is pivotal for students,” he said.