WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Planning a Grand Entryway to Campus

Jan 3, 2013

Western Illinois University hopes to soon improve the look of a main entryway to the Macomb campus.

Currently, plenty of parking lots can be seen by those who turn onto West University Drive from Route 67. The goal is to create something more pleasing aesthetically.

Something so people know they're now at campus and it welcomes them onto University Drive

Right now there is not much to look at as you enter the WIU campus on University Drive at Route 67
Credit Rich Egger

Scott Coker, Director of Facilities Management, would like to add some landscaping where the Godfather’s Pizza restaurant once stood, plus install what he called a sign wall at the intersection.

“Something so people know they’re now at campus and it welcomes them onto University Drive,” Coker said.

Coker would like to complete the sign wall and landscaping by the time students arrive for the Fall 2013 semester.

There has been talk about installing an arch over the road. Coker said Facilities Management is studying the idea.

There had also been talk of converting the former movie theater at University Drive and Route 67 into a welcome center, but Coker said it’s now possible the building will instead be torn down.

“It hasn’t been maintained very well. There just hasn’t been any use for it,” Coker said.

“The other issue with that cinema building: it’s tucked clear back in the trees. So if we want to envision something (that) when you come down 67 you see it first when you come right to campus, that’s not a visible building.”

Coker said the university might eventually construct a new building to serve as a welcome center. It would be closer to University Drive.

Coker stressed plans are still being formed for the entryway. But he added the project has been a priority for WIU President Jack Thomas.

The work would likely be paid for with state money, though Coker said the funding source has not been finalized.