PDT Staff Writer
Shawnee State University (SSU) announced in July it would be closing a portion of Third Street for expansion purposes on Aug. 15 and on Thursday morning, they did just that.
According to SSU Director of Communications Elizabeth Blevins, Aug. 15 is move-in day for freshman residents of campus housing.
She said the university, in cooperation with the city of Portsmouth, typically closes the street to aid in the moving process. She said this year will be no different, except when the street closes, it will do so for good.
“For a couple of weeks we’ve had the big flashing sign that says third street closes Aug. 15,” Blevins said. “We will close the street for move-in like we always do with the assistance of the Portsmouth Police Department and once the barricades are erected they will stay up.”
Blevins said the barricades that have been put up are similar to what the Ohio Department Of Transportation uses.
“We use temporary barricades because there will be a transition period,” Blevins said.
She said these barricades will be used until more permanent ones can installed.
“There will be a permanent solution after a certain period time time. The architects have shown us several options (for permanent barricades). There will be something permanent there but, for right now it will be the standard ODOT barricades,” Blevins said.
She said the closure of Third Street will allow the university to start making plans for expansion and to start discussions about the location of a new academic building.
“We’ve been talking about the need (for a new academic building) and looking at different options for an academic building that will provide more classroom space, more laboratory space especially in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) areas,” Blevins said.
She said with the closure of Third Street in sight, the discussions for such an academic building can be more active. She said in April when Portsmouth City Council approved the closure of the street, attached were a list of improvements that needed to be made to other streets in order to make the closure possible.
In a released statement, SSU President Dr. Rita Rice Morris said improvement items included enhanced school crossings at Fourth and Union Streets and Fourth and Glover Street for the students of Portsmouth Elementary. Other items include the relocation of the entrance of the Social Security Administration building on Fourth Street, improved signage and a turnaround area on the south side of First Christian Church.
According to released information from SSU, the main entrance to the university will be accessed from Waller Street. The rear entrances will be unaffected and the parking lot across from the Vern Riffe Center For the Arts will still be accessed the way that people access it now.
For more information about SSU and its many programs and activities visit www.shawnee.edu.
Wayne Allen may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 228, or firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking news, follow Wayne on Twitter @WayneallenPDT.