Border beautification is underway

The fence around campus is being built in multiple phases. The current phases costs $700,000. ORACLE PHOTO/MIKI SHINE

Construction of black fencing, enshrined with the USF logo, is currently ongoing around the school's perimeter. The fencing is connected by large brick columns, which are also in the process of being developed. The fence will act as a definitive border for the main campus.

Now with the new border fence in the process of construction, this is just one step in the multi-phase plan for what is being called the “Edge Enhancement Project,” according to spokesman Adam Freeman. 

The first phase of construction broke ground in November of 2015. Completion is expected in January of 2018.

According to Freeman, the exact number of phases included, and the overall cost of the project, is something that is not known for certain. 

“The project provides multiple benefits, including improvements to public safety and the overall appearance of the USF campus,” Freeman said.

The idea behind the decision to implement this project is to provide a true sense of arrival to individuals that enter the campus, according to Freeman. The incorporation of the USF logo into the fencing itself will also let it be known that somebody is at the University of South Florida.

“We hope the project will lead to individuals who cross busy streets, such as Bruce B. Downs or Fletcher Avenue, using the crosswalks at traffic signals more frequently, since they will no longer be able to get on campus in as many locations,” Freeman said.

It seems that not everyone may be as sold on the idea of the Edge Enhancement Project. Jasmine McIver said she considers the campus to already be scenic, and that she does not believe the addition of the fence to-be will do anything for the physical appeal of the campus.  

“There are so many other things that the money can go towards. Not to mention, the part that is being fenced in is literally just land,” McIver said.

McIver points to the edge of campus at the corner of Fowler Avenue and Bruce B. Downs Boulevard where construction is taking place at the moment and is presently the home to an empty plot of undeveloped land. 

Thinking monetarily, the project, which is being funded by state-appropriated funds, is not happening without expense. The current phase of the fence construction will cost approximately $700,000. 

“It does not make any sense to build a fence because it physically does nothing security-wise. If someone wanted to get in, there would still be another way,” Joshua Glow said. 

Glow said the funds being used to build the fence could have been put to better use if they were applied to something more practical, such as an additional parking garage.

“The project was a management decision and did not require approval from an entity such as the Board of Governors or Board of Trustees,” Freeman said. “The leadership in Administrative Services — this includes Facilities Management — oversees this project and many others across campus related to construction, maintenance, enhancement and safety.”

Sarah Baynard, who serves as the Assistant Director of Facilities Planning for USF, which according to Freeman, was involved in the decision to implement the Edge Enhancement Project, could not be reached for comment.