Navigating the campus of East Tennessee State University may be a bit tricky beginning next week because of some necessary road closures to accommodate continuing work on a massive 1,200-space parking garage and central green space.
According to ETSU, on Tuesday, John Robert Bell Drive will be closed from the intersection at State of Franklin Road to the north end of Warf-Pickel Hall, which houses the Claudius G. Clemmer College of Education.
Also closing will be Jack Vest Drive from the intersection of State of Franklin Road across from the entrance to the VA Medical Center campus to the intersection with North Dossett Drive. This closure includes all parking in Lot 21.
These roads will be closed until Aug. 19 as construction of the new student parking garage is completed and roads are relocated. During this time, the west end of the ETSU campus will only be accessible from J.L. Seehorn Drive. Persons needing to park in Lot 22A will need to enter that area from Greenwood Drive.
Work began on the parking garage back in summer 2012 but in the past couple months the structure has really taken shape as workers have assembled a puzzle of pre-fabricated concrete pieces of the floor and sides.
The price tag on this massive $26 million project included the relocation and construction of tennis courts, which have been recently finished.
These new courts have both athletics and recreational courts and were located farther out on the west end of campus, near the school’s soccer field. At some point, a second phase for these new tennis courts include building offices and some indoor courts.
The garage is scheduled to be complete by the time school begins in the fall.
A brick facade should be placed on the garage soon, said David Collins, ETSU Vice President for Finance and Administration. This facade should make the building more aesthetically pleasing and similar in look to other campus buildings.
Collins said the central green space, or quad as it is being called, will be completed by Merit Construction and involve redoing the entrances of all the buildings bordering the new quad area, largely to address the Americans with Disabilities Act.
John Robert Bell Drive will remain closed permanently to create a pedestrian walkway for students using the new parking garage as well as other parking on the west side of campus.
Collins said this closure will prevent motorists from traveling their cars through campus but will allow access to the garage.
The pedestrian walkway will allow students to walk across campus without ever having to cross the path of a vehicle, which will improve safety, Collins said.
Once both projects are completed at the end of the summer, the campus of ETSU will be much more pedestrian-friendly, Collins said.
To access maps of the construction areas along with suggested walking paths and the locations of alternative entrances to buildings, visit www.etsu.edu/detour.