Campus undergoes substantial construction projects prior to fall semester


Photo provided by WKU.

Madison Carter, News reporter

Students returning to campus in August should expect to see a very different view from the top of the hill.

As many hilltoppers left campus for summer break, Planning, Design, and Construction and Facilities Management got busy with summer construction projects.

The most visible project underway is the Hilltop Circulation Project, according to Bryan Russell, chief facilities officer. 

Also known as the Hilltop Planning Study, the project aims to create a singular “loop” drive that reduces traffic flow and “removes all through traffic between College Heights Boulevard and State Street,” according to the Campus Master Plan. The project includes the construction of accessible pathways to the top of the hill.

The new traffic route will require vehicles to enter and exit the top of the hill on Hilltop Drive. Parking along Hilltop Drive, the road in front of Gordon Wilson Hall and Van Meter Hall, has been removed to create a two lane road, Russell said. 

After entering Hilltop Drive, vehicles will loop around Potter Hall, drive through the expanded Potter Hall parking lot, and exit along the two-way Hilltop Drive, Russell said. 

“That’s a massive project that’s been in planning for years that we got approval to move forward with,” Russell said. “Part of this pedestrian improvement and green space is a better travel way that will be barrier free,” Russell said.

The Hilltop Circulation Project is still in progress and will be very noticeable to students, Russell said. 

Another project underway is the expanded Normal Street North Parking Lot next to Mimosa Point Lot, Russell said. 

The construction on the lot is expected to be completed and ready for use in the fall semester, according to Jennifer Tougas, director of Parking and Transportation. During the day time the lot will be a faculty and staff lot, and after 4:30 p.m. it will be open parking.

The Mimosa Point Lot has been changed from a premium parking lot to an hourly pay lot open to the public, Tougas said. Parking will cost $2 an hour. 

A project that may not be as noticeable to students when they return are the eight steam infrastructure repairs, Russell said. The majority of the repairs to the steam lines will be done before students arrive for the semester.

The Commons at Helm Library has also undergone work throughout the summer, Russell said. 

“The construction firm has been working on completing the things that weren’t quite where we wanted them to be,” Russell said. “We have asked them to have that done before August 15.” 

The design for the new soccer and softball indoor practice facility has been completed and put out for bid, Russell said.

“We had a good number of potential general contractors come to Western that are interested in bidding the work,” Russell said. “That project should get started in construction in August.”

To learn more about the 2022 Summer Projects, visit the WKU website