Campus Updates Improve Student Life On And Off Campus

Ingrid Schmidt and John Margida

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Many improvements are being made around the Ashland University campus thanks in large part to the facilities department and safety services.

Rick Ewing, Vice President of Operations and Planning at AU said that the university has been making lots of improvements both on and off of the main campus throughout this academic year.

“Some of the most dramatic improvements are actually off campus,” Ewing said. “One of them is down at our seminary campus where we’ve renovated the Schult Academic Center and that is now the new home of the Brethren Church National Offices.”

Downtown Ashland has also seen many improvements this year thanks to Ashland University, according to Ewing. The former Chase Bank Building on Main Street now houses AU’s Correctional Education Program.

“So we have staff down there, about 30 folks that have moved down there,” Ewing said. “And while we’re not completely finished with that building, that’s one of the major projects that we’ve been working on.”

On campus, many improvements can be seen in classrooms. “We’ve been working with IT to update a lot of the classrooms, so new technology, putting new whiteboards in projectors and so forth is taking place across campus,” Ewing said.

The new crosswalk signals on Claremont are another notable improvement that affects both students on campus and drivers in the Ashland community.

“So these signals will help improve pedestrian safety, they’ll be much more visible to the traffic, Ewing said. “They’ll allow for actual lighting up of the crosswalks.”

 

Ingrid Schmidt & John Margida
The new crosswalk signals show the strong relationship between the university and the wider community

“The relationship between the community and the university I think has never been stronger,” Ewing said. “Our Mayor, I meet with him frequently talking about things, the pedestrian crosswalk is one good example where I had the Mayor, the City Engineer, the Police Chief, the Fire Chief, and our Safety Director were all out there talking about what we can do to make this safer.”

The old lights from the Claremont crosswalk are being put to good use at a different crosswalk according to Director of Safety Services, Dave McLaughlin.

“They’re gonna take the lights that were up there, the flashing lights that people became numb to because they just saw flashing lights 24/7, those are going to be moved to a less traffic area on Broad Street, that crosswalk there because we need to do something there as well,” McLaughlin said.

Other small improvements being made around campus include updates to residence halls and brick sidewalks around campus.

Ingrid Schmidt & John Margida

 

“Every year we pick an area and try to address that,” Ewing said. “I know that our brick sidewalks are getting old and so how we can update those make them a little more appealing and a little less trip hazard. So we’re looking at landscaping options.”

The rose garden between the library and the chapel will also be receiving a face lift this spring.

Other safety updates include new security cameras in common areas according to McLaughlin.

“We’ve got cameras in all the residence hall lobbies and we’re starting to strategically put them out there on campus in other areas,” McLaughlin.

 

Ingrid Schmidt & John Margida

McLaughlin is planning to install door lockdown systems in the classrooms in the case of an active shooter. The lock is mounted on the bottom of the door and “the people inside the room can engage that in a matter of seconds and it can be disengaged in a matter of seconds,” McLaughlin said.

“So that’s something that we plan on doing to once we approval from all the necessary people like the police chief, fire chief, the occupancy permits for the buildings have to be updated,” McLaughlin said. “It’s a project that we’ve been working on actually for the year so it’s finally coming to fruition.”

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