UE plans millions of dollars worth of improvements - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

UE plans millions of dollars worth of improvements

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Millions of dollars worth of improvements are being planned at the University of Evansville.

One of those changes will impact a major road that runs through campus. 

With its $3.6 million, privately funded, basketball practice facility now a year old UE is working its way down a list of other campus improvements.

Next up, upgrades to the outdated library and Hyde Hall, as well as an investment in campus streetscapes.

"We began thinking about how can we make this a more attractive place, and how can Walnut in particular become a uniter of the campus, something that brings the campus together as opposed to being divided into an academic area and an athletics area," said Dr. Thomas Kazee, UE President.

Right now, Walnut splits the two sides. To the north there's the Carson Center, tennis courts, basketball practice facility and student fitness center. Classrooms are on the south side.

Part of the plan is to take Walnut from four lanes down to two and create a gathering space called Walnut Plaza.

"So right in the middle of walnut would be a plaza which would be an inviting place with some public art that would be a place that for special occasions we could close that block to traffic," said Dr. Kazee. "It becomes the kind of thing where people see it as an integrator of campus life, something that brings the community together in what is now simply a street," he said.

Indoors, the university wants to breath new life into older buildings where students spend a lot of time.

First Hyde Hall.

"The classrooms are very cramped and small there's very little technology capabilities in these rooms, the air conditioning is kind of hit or miss as well as the heating," said Mallory Mooney, UE junior. "It's kind of a really uncomfortable place to learn."

A new energy efficient heating and cooling system is in the works as well as more modern classrooms.

At the library, the university wants to add more natural light and technology as well as create space for students to work in small groups.

They're things Dr. Kazee believes are necessary to recruit the best and brightest and improvements Mallory Mooney is excited about even if she'll have long graduated before they're complete.

"My peers and I really care about the years to come," said Mallory. "They want all the students to have the same experience that we had when we were here and the students after them and the students after them," she said. 

Fundraising for these projects has been underway now for the past few months.

Dr. Kazee says they're hoping to have the money, somewhere around $16 million, raised in the next two to three years.

Click here for additional information about these projects.

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