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Wayfinding project helps direct all through campus

Some recent small adjustments to the campus environment might not be noticeable to those already acclimated with UNF’s campus, but they can make all the difference to people who might not know their way around.

The wayfinding project, geared toward helping lost visitors navigate their way around campus, began taking shape in the beginning of fall 2008 when Facilities Planning organized a committee and hired a consultant to decide what directional signs would be placed around campus and where they would go.

They also decided what other additions would visually enhance the campus, such as banners on the Fine Arts building and the UNF Arena.

“All the major universities you go to have a wayfinding system,” Director of Facilities Planning Zak Ovadia said. “We’re just catching up to them.”

The signage was implemented around campus beginning April 1. The signs are all different, some acting as directional “you are here” guides and others clearly marking main destinations around campus.

These temporary signs are the first prototypes to come and were placed in a variety of locations around campus – at the south end of Lot 18, the entrance to campus on Alumni Drive, the Lot 14 shuttle bus stop and on a few of the second floor walkway buildings, Ovadia said.

Until the April 10 deadline, he encouraged student input on the prototypes.

He is using that feedback to evaluate the successes and failures ofthe models.

Most feedback was positive, he said, and the constructive criticism received – like text being too light and grammatical mistakes in the building names – will be put into consideration when designing the new signage, which will eventually replace the first prototypes.

“I would like to take this one step at a time,” Ovadia said. “To put the signs that are critical and then add what we think is necessary to complete the picture on a gradual basis.”

If they followed every recommendation from the committee and the consultant, it would cost $800,000, and in Ovadia’s words, the over-signage would “pollute” the campus.

He said not every recommendation will be implemented and estimated the true cost of the project somewhere between $600,000 and $650,000.

“The ‘you are here’ signs are a good idea,” said Lauren Taylor, junior communication major. “The old signs frustrated me, especially when I was a freshman and I had no idea where my classes were.”

Find your way

• The wayfinding project is geared to help visitors and new students navigate campus.

• Some signs acts as directional guides; others mark main destinations.

E-mail Rebecca McKinnon at [email protected].


The committee did not receive payment for their contribution to the project, but the consultant fee was $36,000. The overall estimated cost of the project is $600,000 to $650,000.

But the consultant and the project in general are worth the cost if you do the math, Ovadia said.

With an estimated 300 signs added to UNF’s campus at the project’s completion, that leaves the cost per sign at around $2,000.

“That’s not much at all if you take a look at the sign and see what’s involved,” he said. “You’ve got a lot metal, welding and engineering [put into each sign]. And, the consultant did a wonderful job [coming] up with the concepts for this.”

After receiving the final feedback, the changes that will be made to the prototypes involve changing design elements, typographical errors and the locations of the signage. Drivers wanted the street-side signs more visible as they approached campus, Ovadia said.

The prototypes will be removed and 36-40 updated signs will be placed around campus by fall 2009.

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