August 24, 2020

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Some on campus have begun to notice new addresses appearing on doorways. Affixed on the front doors of Aquinas Hall, “3885 Observatory Walk.” 

A major milestone in a wayfinding project outlined in the 2012 Master Plan is coming to fruition as wayfinding signage is installed across campus to name roads and major walkways on campus and to give directional addresses to buildings.

Until recently, visitors to campus were all given a single address, 620 Michigan Avenue, N.E., and then had to rely on descriptive directions to find their destinations.

Through a two-year-long process, a team of university staff — led by University Architect Debra Nauta-Rodriguez and consultants from Cloud Gehshan, an environmental branding, signage, and wayfinding firm — identified major campus pathways, proposed names to University leadership, finalized the names, and had them approved by the city.

While all buildings on campus will continue to use 620 Michigan Avenue, N.E., as their mailing address, the new directional address for campus buildings will be used so that visitors can more easily find exact building locations. (View the interactive campus map.)

Road and walkway names were chosen to highlight the history and mission of the University. Click on the links below to view related stories from University Archives. 

In addition to naming roads and walkways, the University is also improving wayfinding by installing more, graphically improved directional signage. Major campus entrances (7th Street, 4th Street, and the enttance near the Metro) will have maps with directions to the most  commonly visited spaces (Admission, the Pryzbyla Center, auditoriums, and chapels). Directional signage will also be installed at major crossroads. 

University road/street names include:

  • Alumni Lane (in front of O’Connell and Gibbons halls)
  • McMahon Circle 
  • University Drive (running from our 7th Street entrance along St. Thomas Hill and McMahon Hall to the entrance by Ward Hall)
  • Thea Bowman Drive (roadway on the north side of the Law School that runs to the Pryzbyla Center along the front of the new Dining Commons)
  • Persico Way (entrance from Harewood Road by Nugent Hall)
  • Fort Slemmer Drive (entrance from Harewood Road that runs behind O’Boyle and Marist Halls and ends at Centennial Village and Kane Health and Fitness Center)

Green spaces will maintain their traditional names -- University Mall, University Lawn, Przybyla Lawn, and St. Thomas Hill

New “shared use paths” (primarily pedestrian paths that are sometimes used by service vehicles) include:

  • Divinity Way (beginning at the southwest corner of Caldwell Hall, this road/walkway ends at the front steps of O’Boyle Hall)
  • Observatory Walk (beginning at the southeast corner of McMahon parking lot, this walkway runs north past Hannan Hall, the west side of Centennial Village, past Aquinas and Marist halls)
  • Cardinal Walk (runs from the southwest corner of Pangborn Hall, along the east side of the Crough Center, past the Przybyla Center, ending at the new Dining Commons)
  • Centennial Circle (located at the center of Centennial Village)
“The new Campus Signage and Wayfinding System advances the Master Plan goal of making the campus more pedestrian friendly,” says Debra Nauta-Rodriguez, associate vice president for Facilities Planning and Management and University architect. “The campus circulation systems for vehicles and pedestrians will become more legible and, eventually, more intuitive once our community gets accustomed to distinctions between roads and walkways. The new system also allows for future improvements anticipated in the Master Plan, including accessibility enhancements, parking area changes, new green spaces, and new buildings.”

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