Big changes announced for Brigham Young University campus

By Kayla Franson

For the Deseret News

Published: Wednesday, Feb. 6 2013 4:55 p.m. MST

PROVO — BYU’s campus is getting a major facelift.

The university will permanently close the section of East Campus Drive between the Wilkinson Student Center and the law building and turn it into a pedestrian plaza.

Other features of the major renovations include the installations of roundabouts near the new pedestrian plaza and the administration building. Additional parking also will be created near the Museum of Art and the Harris Fine Arts Building.

“There were three primary reasons (for this project)," BYU spokeswoman Carri Jenkins said. "To help unify our campus, to connect the academic buildings with the other academic buildings and our residence halls with our campus, and … to create a safe, pedestrian-friendly environment."

Phase one will begin May 1 with the permanent closure of East Campus Drive between the Wilkinson Center and the J. Reuben Clark Law Building. The creation of the pedestrian plaza between those buildings includes removal of two iconic campus features.

The first, the underused pedestrian bridge between the buildings will come down. The second, the busy crosswalk outside the covered Wilkinson Center drive-thru and the law building parking lot will be replaced by a roundabout.

The mall will provide a large green space and connect previously separate parts of campus.

“What we are creating is for those who are coming onto campus … a safe experience for those coming in vehicles and those walking on campus,” Jenkins said.

The second phase of the project, beginning in the summer of 2014, includes construction of a new drop-off in front of the Hinckley Alumni and Visitors Center. The work also will shift 450 East and add a sidewalk on the south side of 1230 North.

During phase three, which will begin in the summer of 2015, construction will include new parking areas near the Museum of Art and a roundabout and new entry north of the Administration Building. These changes will make walking to school safer for students who live on campus.

BYU is working with city planners to smooth the transition, especially with the expected increase in traffic on 900 East as drivers go around the east side of campus.

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