Master Plan discussed

By Elizabeth M. Behland

The recently released Campus Master Plan recommends renovations of the Martin Luther King Memorial Commons and construction of pedestrian walkways to improve the safety and beauty of NIU’s campus.

Eddie Williams, NIU vice president for finance and planning, said, “What is recommended is a total landscape architectural development of central campus which links it better with the east part of campus.”

Williams said that first the commons area “will be totally revamped with new landscape, a public freedom of speech area, and we’re (NIU) going to bring in a statue of Dr. King.”

In accordance with wishes of the City of DeKalb, Carroll Avenue will be permanently closed, he said. There will be a bus turnabout area, and a section of Carroll Avenue will be closed and renovated with landscaping, benches and special lighting.

Patricia Hewitt, Williams’ assistant, said the commons and Carroll Avenue renovations will cost about $400,000.

The Campus Master Plan Summary states the architectural design is underway and construction will begin in the summer of 1989. Hewitt said the renovations will be the first step in the development of a corridor linking the east and west sections of campus with the central campus.

Williams said the plan incorporates a central pedestrian walkway, which will extend from Annie Glidden Road to Carroll Avenue. The walkway will have a width large enough for students to easily travel upon and will be decoratively landscaped, he said.

According to the summary, the walkway will be about six feet wide with about ten feet of landscape on each side.

Williams said, “The idea is to have a major walkway through the heart of the campus eliminating some of the conflict between vehicles and pedestrians, so it’s a safety issue. Plus, it will make the campus more like a university campus, organized and beautiful.”

Hewitt said a cost estimate has not been completely developed for the pedestrian walkway, and the plan will not be initiated until construction on the commons and Carroll Avenue have begun, she said. “The commons is a much more definite drawing,” Hewitt said.

Williams said similar construction will be done along Lucinda Avenue. “The city and the university are jointly working together” to repave the street, provide new landscape, construct walkways and new lighting, he said. The landscape will be located between the street and the sidewalk.

“The city has included it (the Lucinda Avenue renovation) in its capital plan and has set a target date in 1991 to get all of this done,” William said.

Hewitt said a cost estimate is not yet available.

The city architects and engineers have been working with NIU and the Sasaki Associates, Watertown, Mass., who prepared the master plan, Williams said.