ASU holds public input meeting to discuss future of campus

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Arkansas State University administrators are hosting a public input meeting Tuesday to discuss campus master plan proposals.

The goal of the meeting, which will be held from 7-8 p.m. at the Craighead County Jonesboro Public Library, is to survey community members concerning issues such as landscaping, security, and traffic circulation on campus.

The public will hear different versions of master plans from Ann Arbor, Michigan based planning firm SmithGroupJJR before engineers submit a final proposal to the ASU Board of Trustees in September 2012.

ASU senior Michelle Davis said one of the main issues students have is getting to class around the blockades on Caraway on both ends of the campus. "They took away Caraway, and so everyone's getting to the same spots at the same times. "It took my commute from five minutes to 30 minutes."

The photojournalism major said when the commute ends, the mad dash for parking spots begins. "We're thousands of parking spots short than what the student population is."

Neal Kessler is the lead planner of the team faced with the task of smoothing out the rough spots on campus. They want feedback from students, faculty and the public on the three design options they could implement over the next 20 years.

"All three of the plans have some exciting options and I'm looking forward to it. I don't know if I'll be around 20 years to see everything completed. "As a matter of fact, I don't think I'll be around 20 years," said professor of journalism Dr. Lillie Fears.

Kessler said the many of the questions he has answered are about making the campus more pedestrian oriented. "With Aggie Road and Caraway coming through the center of campus, until very recently that has been a major problem, and so now we're looking at different ways of removing the vehicles through the center of campus, coming into the edge of campus, and then the core of campus being pedestrian."

He said people can also look for improvements in the near future for what is already on campus. "Residence halls, possibly, we're looking at.  There's a new concept for an IT or information technology help desk that we might be able to come about fairly soon."

"They're thinking about an expanded or additional dining facility."

What is the main issue you think Arkansas State University needs to address? Leave your thoughts on our Facebook, Twitter, or Google+ pages. We could read your comments tonight on Region 8 News.

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