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Murphy Center digital sign, 3 tennis courts make w...

Murphy Center digital sign, 3 tennis courts make way for MT Boulevard project

Ongoing construction on the Middle Tennessee Boulevard widening project has claimed a highly visible campus mainstay in front of Murphy Center.

The electronic billboard that stood outside of Murphy Center’s official entrance since the mid-1980s was taken down in recent weeks as construction crews continue upgrades along Middle Tennessee Boulevard.

This fall 2014 file photo shows the electronic marquee in front of Murphy Center. (MTSU file photo)

University planning staff are considering various options for installing updated digital signage on or around Murphy Center. The best alternatives should become clearer as the new streetscape around Murphy progresses toward completion, officials said.

MTSU is also losing part of three outdoor tennis courts during construction; the remaining courts are to be back in operation by fall. The university’s tennis court capacity has been supplemented by the Adams Indoor Tennis Complex at Old Fort Park.

Work on upgrades around the President’s House is also progressing. Renovations include a turnaround plaza on the south side of the house and a garden area on the east side. The changes were approved by the Tennessee Historical Commission.

The 30-month, $15.7 million widening project will upgrade the .8-mile section of the thoroughfare between East Main and Greenland Drive. The city of Murfreesboro is overseeing the work. Completion is expected by fall 2018.

A construction worker operates an excavator earlier this week to remove the concrete base where the electronic marquee outside of Murphy Center stood for three decades. (MTSU photo by Jimmy Hart)

The project will reconstruct the existing roadway to a consistent four-lane divided street with a landscaped median. It will include bike lanes, improved sidewalks and lighting, new traffic signals, decorative crosswalks, landscaping and underground utilities.

MTSU officials have said they expect at least one lane of traffic will always be open in both directions throughout construction, but access to parking and traffic flow on the roadway will continue to be affected throughout the project.

Pedestrians and motorists are being asked to pay close attention to signs posted along the route, as well as other vehicles and people traveling on foot and by bicycle, to ensure safety.

The city is sharing project updates through an interactive online map at www.murfreesborotn.gov/mtb as well as via the Twitter account@MTBlvd.

UPGRADE DETAILS

When the project is complete, the west side of campus also will be affected in the following ways:

  • Traffic flow on Faulkinberry Drive will change to “right turn in, right turn out” onto Middle Tennessee Boulevard.
  • A pull-in area for buses will be added at the front of Murphy Center.
  • Pedestrian crossings with signals will be added at Lytle and Division streets, and crosswalks at Bell Street and Faulkinberry Drive will be upgraded.
  • Brick walls with signage will be erected at the corners of Greenland Drive, and another wall will be added at East Main Street, to better define the university’s boundaries.
  • Flagpoles will be erected at Faulkinberry Drive.

— Jimmy Hart (jimmy.hart@mtsu.edu)


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