FMU upgrades main entrance

New sign under construction


Photo by: Kyle Graham

FMU is building a new sign to make the university more noticeable to passersby and welcoming to the FMU community. The new sign will feature water fountains.

Ashley Krause, Copy Editor

FMU started building a new sign to replace an older digital one in front of the university. The project is expected to be completed in early November.

The sign will be at the corner of Francis Marion Road and Palmetto Street.

Tucker Mitchell, vice president of University Communications, said FMU President Fred Carter and Vice President for Business Affairs John Kispert decided it was time to think about finding a way to upgrade the entrance to campus.

“It was just time for an update,” Mitchell said. “I think there are two things that made it a priority, and they are pretty simple.”

Mitchell said there were problems with visibility with the former digital sign.

“The old sign was perpendicular to the road,” Mitchell said. “It was not as easily seen as well as this new sign will be from the people who are driving along the highway.”

According to Mitchell, the other reason for updating the sign was to make it more inviting.

“We wanted to a build a more enticing entrance that makes people want to look,” Mitchell said.

There are other prominent features on the sign besides the increased visibility. According to Mitchell, there will be small fountains of water coming out of a part of the sign.

The sign will also have different trees and flowers planted by it depending on the season.

“There will be different landscaping done around the sign,” Mitchell said. “That plan is still being developed. They have worked on it. You don’t landscape until you have everything built.”

Mitchell said the budget for the sign came from private funds.

“The project cost about $230,000,” Mitchell said. “That comes out of private funds. So it is not money we are taking from students’ tuition and putting towards the project.”

Mitchell said public colleges do not have the luxury of moving money for different purposes around to fit the institution’s needs.

“With a state institution, a public college, you don’t have much latitude to move money from this pot or that pot,” Mitchell said. “So, if it comes in as a student’s tuition, there are only certain things we can do with that.”

Mitchell said some of the things a student’s tuition pays for are professors, lighting for buildings and other FMU staff.

According to Mitchell, FMU generally does not start new projects until the funds are acquired for them through private donations.

“We sort of make a point to do very little in ways of new construction until it is paid for,” Mitchell said.

The private funds that paid for the sign came from the FMU Foundation and the Development Foundation.

“The Development Foundation has money from restricted sources,” Mitchell said. “We don’t supplement it from a general fund.”

Mitchell said the overall goal of the sign is to be welcoming to everyone who sees it.

“We want our students, faculty and staff to feel good about it as they pull in,” Mitchell said. “It probably is, first and foremost, a message to visitors: you are here.”