There are new “front doors” at Butler County’s Miami University.
The school recently completed work on large gateways along two main roadways leading on to the school’s main Oxford campus that handle most of the 50,000 vehicles that travel through the school grounds each day.
It’s part of the university’s plan to highlight some of the entrances to its architecturally acclaimed and historical, 800-acre main campus in western Butler County, while improving safety.
The new, curving, red-brick entrances — at the southern and eastern campus borders where U.S. 27 and State Route 73 connect with school grounds — also pay homage to Miami’s intertwined history with the city Oxford, with both names engraved on the large structures.
Miami’s main campus has been lauded nationally for its historically stately and consistent, red-brick structures that give the school a rare architectural cohesiveness rarely found at other notable universities across America.
But the school previously lacked clear, visual markers noting the beginning of its campus boundaries, said school officials.
“Many other similar sized universities are more self-contained than our campus,” said Cody Powell, associate vice president of facilities planning and operations for Miami.
“Our campus is more integrated into the city of Oxford and it is not always obvious when you are on or off the campus. Part of the objective was to enhance these important entry points and define the entrances with a similar architectural aesthetic as our buildings while honoring the connection with the city of Oxford,” said Powell.
Miami, which enrolls 17,246 undergraduates and 2,425 graduate students at its main campus, is the largest employer in Butler County and its network of schools include regional campuses in Hamilton and Middletown and the Voice of America Learning Center in West Chester Township.
Beyond aesthetics, said Powell, are practical, safety enhancements that prompted the gateway projects on the Oxford campus.
“The most important objective of the project has been to enhance pedestrian and bicycle safety. While the gateways signal the entry to campus, the overall design incorporated features to act as traffic calming elements. In addition, pedestrian safe havens, enhanced pedestrian crossing signalization, improved lighting, and additional bike lanes were added on the U.S. 27 and Patterson Avenue corridor and on State Route 73,” he said.
“Miami’s campus sees an average of 50,000 vehicles per day driving through the campus. Traffic counts have found that the campus averages more than 86,000 pedestrian crossings daily,” he said adding that so far “the safety enhancements of the gateway project have been very successful (and) the gateway project has certainly improved the two most frequently travelled entryways into Miami’s campus.”