Wandering individuals find respite in new visitor center

by Robin Huiras

Visiting the University and navigating campus just got easier.
The new Visitor’s Information Center, a brainchild of University President Mark Yudof, opened last Saturday.
Located between the Armory, the Civil Engineering Building and the Field House on Union Street, signs throughout campus direct individuals to the free-standing kiosk.
“When I came here it was like the man from Mars coming to Earth. I couldn’t find anything and there weren’t signs telling me where to go,” said Yudof.
Providing an easily accessible and identifiable place for visitors is one of the main goals of the center.
The layout of the campus can be confusing for newcomers with the East and West Banks and St. Paul campus. The center provides clarification of the campuses and services provided, said Bob Baker, director of Parking and Transportation Services.
“The center offers anything visitors need: maps, bus schedules and guides, campus phones and computers equipped with web access,” said Cari Hatcher, public relations representative for Parking and Transportation Services.
Using the service to access the Internet provides information on University events, building locations, offices and programs. In addition, Web access to the Student-Staff Directory can aid campus visitors in locating relatives or instructors.
A unique feature of the center is its ability to access immediate parking availability. Electronically connected to gate meters of many parking facilities throughout campus, a visitor can learn exactly where parking is available at any time.
Yudof said he would like expansion of the idea in the future. Already in progress is the kiosk’s move to the University Gateway; an additional booth will appear along University Avenue, Yudof said.
The center is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. A self-serve booth attached to the center equipped with a campus phone supplies visitors with information after hours. During special campus events like homecoming and graduation, the center will post extended and weekend hours.