The pedestrian flow and green spaces of the University’s main quadrangles will extend east to Woodlawn Avenue and west past Ellis Avenue, through three projects that will create a central connection across the campus and enhance accessibility.
To the east, as part of the adaptive reuse project at 5757 S. University Ave., the block of 58th Street between Woodlawn and University avenues will be transformed into a pedestrian pathway with the look and feel of the main quadrangles.
To the west, a new pathway will be created this summer where 58th Street now dead-ends, removing existing obstacles and opening up the pathway to the Crerar Quadrangle.
The east-west connection will be made complete with the creation of a new, open-air portal through the Administration Building that will join the main quadrangles with the science quadrangles and the medical campus.
The projects are designed to enhance the pedestrian experience, making it safer and more pleasant, encouraging informal encounters among faculty, students, staff and visitors, and improving accessibility.
“The outdoor spaces on campus can be as important as the indoor spaces,” said Steve Wiesenthal, University Architect and Associate Vice President for Facilities Services. “Like the Midway Crossings, these projects will connect parts of campus that have felt distant from each other because of features of our buildings and landscape. They will contribute to our sense of community and the integrated nature of the University.”
A first phase of the project will include construction of new ramps that will improve access to the Administration Building and along the pedestrian path for people of all physical abilities. Enabling work for the ramps will begin immediately.
Current access to the Administration Building will remain open and unchanged until June 17, the day after Spring Quarter Convocation. Through the summer, as the closed lobby on the first floor is opened to allow easier passage through the building, access to the building will be rerouted on a temporary basis—more information on temporary access will be available at http://facilities.uchicago.edu/construction/map.shtml.
Wiesenthal said planning is under way to mitigate temporary displacements due to construction, and that full access will be restored by fall.