Project geared to help navigate campus


“I can’t find anything.”

This is what Director of Facilities Planning Zak Ovadia, who came to UNF four years ago, said his initial reaction was upon arrival on campus.

“Wayfinding” is a generic term meaning to find one’s way around. It is a concept adopted by universities, hospitals and airports all across the world due to confusing and difficult floor plans.

A concept that is not new to Ovadia, it is one he wanted to introduce to UNF after noticing its absence on campus.

During the past year, he has worked with a wayfinding organization and design committee on campus to suggest the idea and take the appropriate steps to make it possible at UNF.

The committee is comprised of faculty from various departments including Facilities Planning, the Art Department, Student Affairs and the office of Marketing and Publications.

Ovadia hired a consultant, the committee evaluated proposals and came to a consensus, and presentations were given to UNF President John Delaney for approval.

The goal of the project is to help tie the campus together in terms of the information system and color scheme, a monolithic system to help define UNF, Ovadia said.

The project entails placing new signs on buildings, parking garages, along roads and walkways, and at shuttle bus stops to ensure successful navigation.

In addition, two-dimensional campus maps will be posted at all of the parking lots with touch screen interactive displays so people can select their destination and be told the exact route to take.

“I am hoping it will benefit everybody, especially first time visitors to campus,” Ovadia said.

And the project doesn’t stop with the signs and maps.

Part of it includes electronic signs placed at the entrances to campus to advertising campus events and hanging colored banners outside of the Fine Arts Building that will showcase events up to six months in advance.

The signs are designed to be a changeable and flexible system. The lettering and numbers will be made of peel-off, vinyl material that glows in the dark, Ovadia said.

One of the major aspects of the project is determining the color scheme of all the new additions. The group wanted to reflect the environment on campus and the relationship between it and the school.

“The campus is special because it’s in the middle of a green environment and [those] elements need to be picked up on,” Ovadia said.

All of the additions will be in green, blue, and yellow so they are coordinated and distinct.

It has taken a year to have the project designed and approved.

The university is currently seeking a contractor so the project can begin. It will be a continuous project and finalize within two years from the start date.

The total cost will be approximately $1.5 million, all of which will be funded by administration. Money will not come out of students’ pockets, Ovadia said.

But some students in campus, including junior graphic design major Tristan Morhous, are unsupportive of the project.

“I honestly think it would be a waste of money because there are other things the school could spend their money on like club sports and more student-oriented activities,” he said. “I think it’s a cool idea, just something we don’t need right now.”

E-mail Sarah Gojekian at [email protected]