Ground has broken on the first project put forward by the Community Engagement Committee (CEC), a Student Government Association (SGA) group tasked with improving up relationships between students and the city.
The CEC proposed building a crosswalk between the university parking garage and East Academic Building on Garden Avenue last September to the Webster Groves City Council. A student was hit crossing the street last spring.
“It’s something that we need. A student was hit by a car last semester trying to cross from the parking garage to the EAB,” Michael Grosch, former SGA president, said to The Journal in September. “It wasn’t fatal, but it happened, and it could possibly happen to someone else.”
Webster University paid for the crosswalk, and city workers will construct it. SGA President Katie Maxwell said this collaboration shows that even when the two entities are fighting in the courtroom, they can still collaborate for the safety of their students and constituents.
“It shows that both the city and university are capable of putting aside their differences and prioritizing properly and making sure overall safety is addressed,” Maxwell said.
Crews began removing the old handicap ramp and constructed a new ramp on the parking garage side of Garden on Tuesday, April 1.
A city construction worker said the ramp and a base for a solar panel to power the crosswalk will be done in the next five days if the weather permits. Work on the crosswalk itself could then begin in early April.
Maxwell said the total cost of the project for the university will be around $5,000. She said in the search for contractors, price was not a large concern.
“It was just a priority to get it done. They didn’t need to worry about getting the best deal because they were all pretty close,” Maxwell said. “It just needed to get done because it is a safety concern.”
Grosch told The Journal in September the crosswalk was a good first project for the CEC.
“We felt like this project was hard enough to do, yet easy enough to get done for our first project,” Grosch said.
Maxwell said the CEC has not planned any future projects yet, but they want to continue to work on opening up communication between the students and the city.