CHAPEL HILL — Appalachian State University received UNC system Board of Governors approval last month to spend nearly $1 million on a connector path from the Stadium Lot to Rivers Street and the Peacock Lot.
The $916,866 connector will be funded by transportation and parking reserves, according to materials from the Jan. 24-25 BOG meetings.
“This is the beginning of the pathway that will unite the two halves of campus as referenced in our 2025 Master Plan,” said Megan Hayes, university spokesperson. “Primarily, this will serve as a wide pedestrian path — similar in width to the pedestrian walk recently installed on Academy Street that connects to Sanford Mall. It will provide a pathway from the new parking deck to the Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts.”
Hayes said the pathway will be used to provide an additional vehicular exit from the parking deck and areas around the stadium during large campus events, such as concerts and football games.
“This will make for faster egress, better traffic flow and increased safety for patrons,” she said.
Appalachian’s Master Plan 2025 was approved by the board of trustees in March 2017 after more than a year of study and campus input. The master plan is meant to serve as a conceptual guide for the physical development of campus over the next 20 years.
The plan includes a concept for an “Art Walk,” a defined pedestrian path that would link the Turchin Center for the Visual Arts, a museum on King Street, with the Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts, a performance venue on Rivers Street.
“Pathways of warm, rich materials at Rivers Street crossings would orient pedestrians and create memorable links for campus neighborhoods,” the plan states. “The pathways can connect buildings and lively plazas marked by inspiring installations and a grand transit pavilion. The Arts buildings on campus, which run north to south from King Street to the Stadium Lot, provide an ideal datum for a central route, which will connect campus and the surrounding community to the arts, transportation and university events.”
Hayes said on Feb. 6 that designer interviews will take place later this week, with selection expected next week.
Meanwhile, the university is continuing to work with the town of Boone and other area partners on a potential plan to daylight Boone Creek along Rivers Street and construct a parking deck in the Peacock Lot near Howard Street, which are also proposals in the master plan.