INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) -- Officials at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) have announced five new gateways into their downtown campus they say will help to create a more welcoming environment.
Chancellor Nasser Paydar and his staff explained the largest gate will be 52 feet tall and will stand on the northwest corner of West Street and Michigan Street.
"We want the community to feel welcome, and we want them to know when they get to the campus, so we have these gateways to remind people this is IUPUI; we are proud of it," said Paydar.
Paydar said the largest gate already has $1.2 million in funding from private donors and should be complete by this fall. He added that it's large enough to be seen from an airplane.
"Anyone on a plane approaching Indianapolis, we want them to see this is how proud they are with this campus," he said.
The gateway combines structural elements from different buildings on campus, including Campus Center, Eskenazi Hall and the library.
Four other gateway or entrance structures will go up around campus: another on the east side at West Street and New York Street, two on the west side along the White River Bridge at New York Street and Michigan Street, and one on the north side at University Boulevard and Indiana Avenue.
The gates will also serve to create a clear identity for the school and help shed the image of IUPUI as simply a "commuter college," Paydar hopes. While the majority of students still live off-campus, Paydar says IUPUI has changed a lot in the last 30 years.
"This past fall, 99 percent of our freshman were teenagers. They want to be on campus; they want to be engaged," he said.
With the 2016 completion of North Hall, a 700-bed dormitory, IUPUI now has 2,400 of its 30,000 students living on campus. Officials wouldn't reveal plans for any new residence halls but said there is a waiting list for on-campus housing. University officials said "welcome projects" like the new gateways may help make the students feel more at home in their downtown university.