More construction has begun at North Avenue and its environments as part of the Institute’s efforts to increase safety standards and aesthetic appeal.
According to Howard Wertheimer, director of Capital Planning and Space Management, the project is part of a larger initiative to “transform North Avenue from an edge street on campus to a street that bisects the campus.”
About 15 percent of Tech’s population is housed in the North Avenue Apartments which is south side of North Avenue itself. Construction crews have begun basic groundwork on some parts of the project pending its final approval by the Georgia Department of Transportation. There will be various aspects to the project; some of which include remodeling of the sidewalks, installation of new state of the art pedestrian-activated crossing systems and some underground utilities work.
Currently, there are several sites where active work can be observed. These include the area in front of the North Avenue Dining Hall, where construction crews have just removed construction fences. The Space Management Office is also awaiting approval from the Georgia Department of Transportation to install light fixtures in the building. Work is also in progress in front of the Wardlaw Center, blocking the sidewalk nearest the road, though there is an alternative route offered.
The project will be implemented in four phases and Facilities project the project to be completed by Nov.
“That’s the goal—completing on schedule—but depending on some factors, we may have to shuffle the phases around,” Wertheimer said. On completion of the project, the sidewalks will be significantly wider and better lit, similar to the design that is currently on Ferst Drive.
“We will have a pattern of pedestrian sidewalks, trees and streetlights that will create a rhythm that makes it feel like campus,” Wertheimer said.
While there will be temporary pedestrian path closures during some phases of the project, staff and students will be informed on the process.
Student opinions on the project differ. Omoniyi Obashe, a fourth-year ME major, lives off campus on Centennial Park drive and is supportive of the idea of making North Avenue an integral part of Tech’s campus.
“Generally, I think the decision to make North Avenue more of a campus area more than an outskirt zone is great, and I think we will see more people around the North Avenue area,” Obashe said.
While the ongoing construction has not yet affected pedestrians, it may cause some inconveniences. This is a cause of concern for several students. Wale Odukomaiya, second-year ME major, resides in the North Avenue Apartments and expressed similar sentiments.
“The pedestrian walkway beside the stadium was supposed to be closed down, but it has not been yet. I think that is the only way it is going to affect me,” Odukomaiya said.
Due to North Avenue’s increasing amount of construction, some wonder if Tech could use additional surrounding spaces.
“To be honest, I don’t really see the space available to expand to. But if they really do want to expand, why not?” Odukomaiya said.
While the renovations will create a sense of a safer environment on North Avenue, Wertheimer advises students to take the first proactive measures by being aware of their surroundings.
“Hopefully, everything we are doing will improve safety but part of it is for everybody to take the proper precautions and have awareness about them and also be smart,” Wertheimer said.