The University of Kansas will be starting multiple projects soon to repair and replace sidewalks across campus. The largest of the projects will be a complete sidewalk, parking, and underground utilities replacement around Sunnyside Avenue, according to Facilities Director Mark Reiske.
The project will cost around $6.5 million in total and take four years. Reiske said the project will be similar to the Jayhawk Boulevard reconstruction from 2013 to 2016. Reiske said designs will be solicited in July and construction will begin at 15th and Naismith in 2023.
Reiske said the project will also change the current crosswalk placement on Sunnyside Avenue to stop busses from getting trapped between lines of walking students.
The plaza between Anschutz and Budig will be getting a new surface but the date is not yet set. Reiske said it needs to be done in the next couple of years. Reiske said the ongoing deterioration of the plaza is the result of KU’s old standard for concrete made of shale aggregate. The shale retains water and eventually breaks the surface of the sidewalk off.
Reiske said the new standard uses a granite aggregate, and the surface for the plaza will only need to be replaced with the new aggregate.
Nathan Huerter, a sophomore from Aurora Illinois studying electrical engineering, said he thinks the plaza’s current condition is dangerous. “I walk on it almost every day and occasionally I do trip on it.” Huerter said the plaza has been in this condition since his first time on campus.
Jacob Schmill, a sophomore studying psychology, said he has positive feelings about the plaza. Schmill said while the plaza is in a state of disrepair, it is still a nice place and has never had issues with the plaza.
Other construction projects include reviewing different curb cuts, ramps and other accessibility concerns across campus. The stairs at Marvin and Dyche Halls are undergoing repairs to make them more historically accurate. Reiske said students can currently see the Dyche Hall stairs as they were originally built while the repairs are ongoing.
The Malott Garden Terrace will be completely removed and replaced starting this summer, according to Reiske.
The stairs at Watson were repaired recently and had cheek wall repair and stone replacement and was funded using the differed maintenance fund.
Reiske said funding for sidewalk construction can come from deferred maintenance funds or a variety of different sources. Curb cuts, ramps, and other accessibility related projects is funded through Americans with Disabilities Act funds. While most sidewalk repairs come from the street and sidewalk improvements funds. Reiske said if the repair is small enough, like a six-foot stretch of sidewalk, facilities will pay for the replacement itself.