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New street signs in Eagles red bringing campus up to fire code

January 3, 2019

New street signs and addresses are making it easier for people unfamiliar with the Eastern Washington University campus in Cheney to find their way around, including first responders.

The university undertook the Campus Fire Life Safety Signage project to bring it into compliance with the 2015 International Fire Code, which requires buildings to have addresses visible from the street, said EWU Fire Protection Engineer Mike Lunneborg.

“We have a lot of areas on campus where the campus has grown around existing city streets,” Lunneborg said. “They weren’t really existing streets. All of them that were renamed belonged to us.”

Associate Vice President for Facilities and Planning Shawn King touted the benefits of the new signage program in a news release. “Eastern is unusual in that it has quite a few buildings that are not linked to city streets,” he said. “In order to be responsive to emergency needs, we decided to make this a priority.”

The university worked with the city of Cheney and Spokane County to rename the streets as private lanes. New street signs have already gone up in EWU’s signature red color, featuring names like Swoop Lane and Study Lane.

A small group met to select the new names, Lunneborg said. “We picked them based on the areas they serve,” he said.

Freshman Lane leads to Pearce Hall, a freshman dormitory. Playfield Lane is where the playfield is located. Study Lane leads to academic buildings.

Local first responders from the Cheney Police Department and Cheney Fire Department are usually familiar with the campus, but campus police would sometimes have to meet an ambulance driven by someone unfamiliar with the area and lead them in, Lunneborg said.

“I don’t think there’s been an incident created by a delayed response,” he said.

The new addresses were scheduled to go live on Tuesday. They will be mapped on GPS so first responders can find them more easily.

Plans call for the new addresses to be searchable on Google Maps by Jan. 31, Lunneborg said. That will allow people to type in the name or address of a building and it can be shown on the map, eliminating the need for guests to visit the EWU website and find a campus map in an effort to find their way around.

New addresses are being added to parking lots and playing fields, not just buildings. Address signs should go up on all the buildings on campus by September, Lunneborg said. The new signs need to be approved by the city to make sure they meet all signage requirements, he said.

“Most of our buildings don’t have actual addresses on the building,” he said. “It wasn’t a huge rush on the buildings. The buildings have names on them, they just don’t have a block number.”

There are 13 newly named private lanes on the EWU campus. The university plans to put together a virtual walk-through that will also function as an automated tour for those unfamiliar with the campus.

“We’re looking at this as a comprehensive way for people who come to campus to get around,” said King.

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