University of Regina installs new signage
author: taylor balfour | news writer
Signs on a mission / Jeremy Davis
Wayfinding Project improves campus maneuverability
The University of Regina is taking their next step toward completing their Additional Directional Signage, also known as their Campus Wayfinding project, by installing new signs on campus. These signs, labelled with street names, is to help people navigate their way through the campus and through parking lots.
“The wayfinding project was an important step in our continuing efforts to make our University a welcoming and safe place for all,” said Dave Button, the vice-president of administration at the U of R. “The main campus now has 14 buildings and Federated Colleges on 270 acres. Many newcomers, visitors, and service providers find our expansive campus challenging to get around quickly and easily.”
“A fully comprehensive wayfinding signage system was needed to help students, faculty, staff, visitors, emergency service providers, couriers, and taxis navigate the campus,”
The Campus Wayfinding Study, conducted in February 2014, claimed that it’s goal was to “analyze, plan, conceptualize, and ultimately implement, a comprehensive wayfinding signage system.”
The report also said that the initiative would “provide major enhancements to the student, faculty, and visitor experience while travelling to and on the University’s campus.”
The conclusion of the study noted that “the most professional wayfinding results for the University of Regina would be achieved by a single concerted effort to replace all signage on campus,” but also state that the study “recognized the economic limitations” and therefore decided yo make the implementation gradually and in stages.
“The project began in 2014 as an integral part of the University’s Master Plan and after significant consultation on what the campus needs,” Button says.
“Wayfinding was one of the top priorities coming from the feedback and the actions are focused on improvements needed to make it easier for people to find their way around campus through improved identification of the University’s roads and buildings.”
Contrary to popular belief, however, the Wayfinding Project isn’t limited to just the new signs popping up around campus. In fact, Button says it included “much more.”
“It included improved lighting, logical foot traffic pathways, landscaping, signage at the two main entrances to campus, the installation of more than 100 street and pedestrian directional signs including three drive-up maps, new street names, and recently, civic addresses,” he explains. “All with the goal of making it easier, quicker and safer to get around the main campus.”
The Wayfinding survey goes as far as deciding names for the civic street signs that are about to be placed. At the time of the survey, names such as Ramsey Drive and University Drive were chosen, but the document does say that “should the university wish to pursue a more formal street naming solution,” naming buildings, facilities and academic units, the current naming policy is structured to give titles that are “adequate to identify building location.”
The Wayfinding Project has been broken down into six stages: “Traffic Sign Replacement, Highway Information Signage – Campus Perimeter, Building Addresses and Street Names, Renumbering Parking Lots, Directional Signage, Internal Wayfinding.”
Currently, the U of R is on step four of six: the Directional Signage portion. In total, the cost of all six projects works out to costing $935,000.
“The wayfinding project was implemented in phases over the past three years and with these final signs, the University work is now complete,” Button explained.
“We are still working with the City and Province to help improve highway signage to the University from both directions on the Ring Road.”
According to the university’s website, the street sign portion of the project hopes to “reduce confusion when finding or providing directions to buildings,” and also says that clearer signage will “improve the ability of police, fire, emergency vehicles, couriers, taxis and all visitors to quickly and easily find specific buildings.”
“We believe it is a valuable and essential investment that is important for emergency service providers, as well as for those who work, study, and visit here,” Button continued. “We have already received an incredibly positive response from almost all aspects of the project. Students walking from Kramer corner have commented on the much better and safer sidewalk across the corner of the campus with the wider sidewalk with incredible lighting.”
In the summer of 2018, the University of Regina held Congress 2018, a conference described as “Canada’s largest academic gathering.”
Thanks to this, the U of R worked to make the campus more accessible and manageable for all the academics spending their days in Regina.
According to the U of R’s website, “Patty Niebergall, the university’s Project Manager for Congress 2018, along with Dr. André Magnan, Congress 2018 Academic Convenor, have been working with faculty and staff across campus and with community partners throughout Regina to make this Congress a success.”
Street signs aren’t the only new signs that have the U of R standing out, according to Button.
“Of course we have received huge accolades about the very iconic main gateway sign that has become a symbol of the University and City.”,
At the time of the signs unveiling, the $1 million project wasn’t taken happily by many. Many thought that the project was a waste of money, but Button said its value is worth it.
“Taxi cab companies and emergency providers have celebrated the designation of street names and building addresses as something that will improve response time and customer service.”
The University of Regina has gone through extensive changes over the past few years. From new parking lot signs, new street signs, new lighting fixtures and now civic street signs, the university is on it’s way to further improving itself.
At the end of the day, Button said the project will better help the university experience. “In short, yes, this project has been a huge and positive investment in the University.”