U may look more like Vegas if sign deal goes as planned

The U is considering an investment in several electronic marquees to advertise campus events for students and nonstudents alike, but the details of the project still need to be worked out.

Committee members are trying to decide if the signs would even be worth the investment, where they would go and who would control them. The committee is not disputing the necessity for some new signs around campus.

“We have a need to inform students at the University of Utah of information of interest and benefits on campus…and to inform visitors about how to get around on campus,” said Fred Esplin, vice president of university relations.

Currently, the U uses small printed signs on barricades and yellow signs with removable letters to direct cars to designated parking lots for events.

“There’s got to be a better way than that to do it,” Esplin said.

Some U administrators had already been planning on constructing a big sign somewhere along 500 South between 1300 East and Wasatch Drive. In fact, administrators are conducting a feasibility study for the project, according to Mark Woodland, assistant vice president for university marketing and communication.

Sofia Lingos, director of the Associated Students of the University of Utah’s communications board, made a proposal of her own that would include purchasing five 8 feet by 10 feet screens to be mounted high above ground at spread-out locations around campus. The screens would serve as a “centralized communication station where students would know they could receive campus community information,” according to Lingos.

The company that makes the marquees has already visited the U to survey the proposed sites at the business loop, Medical Drive, HPER highway, the golf course and Presidents Circle and set a price at around $80,000 per marquee.

As always, where the funds will come from is a concern. According to Lingos, there is no chance of an increase in student fees. The U is also reluctant to allow advertising on the signs, so that method of receiving funding is also unlikely to happen.

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