Infrastructure On MTSU Campus
Updated: Oct 13, 2022
By: Corey Nave
Of the infrastructure on campus, my favorite is the Student Services and Admissions Center pedestrian bridge. Its iconic arch section has been used in countless promotional materials since construction ended in 2014. The bridge is more than just something to photograph, however. This structure solved a problem Jamie Brewer and the rest of the design team found in 2012.
The problem was how to provide a zero-contact solution for students crossing Blue Raider Drive. In this case, the zero-contact solution was to create a pathway that completely separates motorists and pedestrians. In the 2010s, that portion of campus was very different.
The graded crosswalk on Blue Raider Drive was installed years earlier, but a zero-contact option did not exist. The bridge provided that option.
It allowed for a path from the SSAC and the adjoining parking garage directly to the Student Union Building. The elevated deck allowed pedestrians to bypass the roadway entirely.
So, who is Jamie Brewer and what did she have to do with the project? First, Ms. Brewer is the current Director-Project Management in Campus Planning for MTSU. Second, she is responsible for the bridge’s iconic look.
She created the first render of the bridge, and she worked with the rest of her team to plan and implement the final design. She’s had a part in every campus project in the last decade. Her latest project, the School of Concrete and Construction Management building, which will be open to students in October.
Members of the MT News staff polled students in the STU about their usage of the bridge. We found that over 69% of students polled have used the bridge. When asked their reasons for using the bridge, the majority said it was a convenient path to the parking garage. Tied at 11% was a safe way to cross Blue Raider Drive, and an easy way to access the SSAC.
The bridge is composed of five spans in two sections. Spans A through D make up the main section of the bridge. This section covers the nearly 270 feet that separates the SSAC from the STU. The structure is held together by trusses made of diagonal beams on the top and bottom. Span A rests on the STU’s existing roof structure. Span B is the longest span of the bridge at over 106 feet, it cuts over the loading area of the STU. Span C contains the arch, and the underside of the arch is covered with an array of RGB controlled LED lights. This allows the college to light up Span C for any event or holiday. In the center of the arch is an aluminum and laminate glass panel which has MTSU’s seal printed on the side.
This span is held aloft by two concrete piers. These piers are primarily a concrete structure clad in a veneer of bricks and precast concrete. Span D connects the rest of the bridge to the SSAC. This span also has an outdoor access gate to allow students to access the bridge without entering the SSAC. Span E is separated from the rest of the structure by the SSAC.
This span connects the SSAC to its adjoining parking garage. It is the shortest spans at 35 feet in length.
If you are looking for a safe zero-contact option when you walk around campus give the pedestrian bridge a try. You might even take a selfie and post about the infrastructure you interact with every day.