New buildings cause shift in campus traffic

Students and faculty all across campus have maneuvered to the east side of campus after the opening of the R. Milton and Denice Johnson Center, Wedgewood Academic Center and the Randall and Sadie Baskin Center. In addition to these buildings opening, new residence halls have attracted students that live along 15th Avenue to stay closer to that area.

Even the Beaman Student Life Center has seen a drop in the amount of student traffic this semester.

“There’s a lot less people that are coming into the Beaman this semester,” said Jonathan West, a facilities assistant with the department of fitness and recreation. “It’s much easier for students to study in the Wedgewood Academic Center than it is over here now.”

Many students are taking more classes over in the R. Milton and Denice Johnson Center now that the College of Entertainment and Music Business has moved into that building.

“As a music business major, I’m spending the majority of my time on campus in the new building where I take classes,” said junior Doug Keffer. “This side of campus seems to be where most of my friends are during the day anyways, so there’s not much reason for me to travel over to Belmont Boulevard.”

On-campus businesses such as What’s Bruin, Curb Café and even the campus bookstore are seeing a significant reduction in traffic this semester. But the Wedgewood Academic Center’s Starbucks and Sandella’s Flatbread Café are overflowing with business.

“It’s hard to even move between classes in the Wedgewood Academic Center anymore because of the Starbucks line,” said junior Cady Sliger. “The only reason I even head over to Curb Café anymore is to get Chik-Fil-A.”

The campus bookstore seems to be a less popular attraction for students this semester, and employees are starting to notice.

“I anticipate our sales being harder and harder to advertise,” said Catherine Murphy, manager of the campus bookstore. “We used to grab a lot of interest from students who were passing by on their way to lunch at the former cafeteria.”

Belmont’s weekend preview days have even shifted to the east side of campus.

“Some visitors on preview day have expressed confusion as to why the bookstore was not located in the new building,” said Murphy. “That location would have been more convenient as they visit the buildings on that side of campus.

Campus security is aware of the shift of student foot traffic and is patrolling campus differently.

“We want to be easily accessible to students,” said Chief of Campus Security, Pat Cunningham. “Having new facilities adds to the geographic area officers cover as part of their patrol duties.” Many businesses feel that change is necessary.

“With the growing population on campus it is hard to offer many of the necessary services in the space we currently have,” said Murphy. “We would not be opposed to moving toward the new center of campus but we would hope that maybe the new ideas/ utilization of the existing buildings will bring students back over this way.”

Students can submit ideas for campus space reallocation at the boxes in the Gabhart Student Center, Fidelity Hall or the Hitch building.

This article was written by Ally Pace.

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