As winter break winds down, students will return to find another road closure on the Ole Miss campus. All-American Drive is now closed to through traffic from the south façade of the Center for Manufacturing to the east side of Coulter Hall. According to Ian Banner, director of Facilities Planning and University Architect, the closure is due to ongoing construction surrounding the new STEM building.
“The road was closed in preparation for the construction of several projects in the area,” Banner said. “The site for the new STEM building is located on the north side of All-American with its adjoining landscape development to be called ‘Gertrude Ford Way’ linking The Grove with the new Bell Tower and the North End Zone of the Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.”
Other than construction purposes, the road is closed due to the need to reroute utilities that sit underneath the road for the new buildings. Banner noted that traffic has been light since the road’s closure on December 30, but even if it causes an inconvenience, the closure is necessary.
“There is a complex assembly of in-ground utilities in this area that needs to be relocated and/or replaced in preparation for construction,” Banner said. “We rely on these utilities every day, and because they are in the ground, we sometimes take them for granted every time we flip a light switch, turn on a faucet or flush a toilet. These are old and in real need of repair.”
Banner assured those concerned that there are “alternative ways to get around” and that his office has worked closely with parking and transportation services to reroute buses. Director of Public Relations Jon Scott said that the road will be closed six months. Construction seems to be a constant on the Ole Miss campus these days and as far any other road closures, Scott is unsure if there will be more to come but can’t rule it out.
“We review our projects on a case-by-case basis. We know building buildings can be an inconvenient activity. It’s a constant balance of keeping the university running while providing the highest quality facilities possible.”
Steven Gagliano is a writer for HottyToddy.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.