The Village is a place that has been a long-time supporter of the Ball State campus, but over time the landscape within and around the area has changed. What once was a thriving, bustling college village is now a former shell of itself. The goal of this project is to find an approach to begin to re-link the Ball State campus and the Village together, driving the activity from Ball State into the Village.
This site is located south of the McKinley parking garage and west of the University Village. It is located in the Village Overlay zone, which was implemented in 2014 with the construction of the Village Promenade. The overlay zone permits construction to run to the edge of the right of way if necessary, meaning there are no required setbacks within the zone. The property sits on the intersection of University Ave and McKinley Ave, a prime piece of real estate for both Ball State and The Village. Development here would be able to link the Village and Ball State and help spur further involvement from both parties.
The sites for the project sit on the edges of both Ball State and the Village. These sites, on either side of University Ave at the intersection of McKinley Ave, are key sites for both the development of the two places. This specific project focuses on the North site, it was selected for the dynamic of being closely tied to the university while also respecting the edge of the Village as well. The north site has remained dormant in construction activity since it was cleared of any structures in 2014.
The program for the building includes;
58-bed hotel (14 single rooms, 44 double rooms)
Conference space for events
Coffee shop servicing the hotel
Student-run restaurant: Allegre
The program responds to the need for the University to expand on the current condition of the hotel on campus and to add more beds within the proximity of Ball State and the Village. The closest hotel to the university with exception to the hotel in the Student Center is located 1.25 miles away, with a majority of hotels around 2 miles away. This brings up the second issue of the number of beds at the hotel in the student center, that total is 25 beds. The number of beds is not sufficient if Ball State is planning on hosting multi-day conferences or larger events like graduation.
This hotel will be a student-run hotel, being staffed by students within the hospitality and food management program at Ball State. The hotel holds 58 beds with 14 single rooms and 44 double rooms. Included in the facilities is a conference center and a cafe. The conference space would relieve the student center and other meeting spaces on campus on how often they are used and help spread out uses around campus, but would also allow for conferences to take place on site with no need to have attendees travel too far between meetings.
Within the hotel program, the first floor would also include the student-run restaurant, Allegre. Allegre currently resides in the back of another building on campus and does not have the level of visibility that most fine dining establishments have. This new home would allow the restaurant to be visible to the community and draw more people to a place most in the Muncie community might not have heard of.
The proposed site looks at capturing the activity and vibrancy from Ball State’s campus and bringing it down into the Village. By providing spaces for students and faculty to gather and meet both indoors and out, it promotes activity to move closer to the Village and can cater to the surrounding neighborhoods.
The location of which the building sits allows for an 'interior' and 'exterior' space to appear. This dynamic puts the focus on the interior public space where circulation and gathering can take place. The location of the building also cultivates the idea of a gateway to the village. The building pinches the site at the southeast corner which brings the scale back to something that resembles the Village.
This area of Ball State is of high value for both commercial development and residential use. The long-term planning for this part of campus is to look at the north and south sites as one and develop them to respond to each other. This allows for connections to be made and a solid gateway to be formed, welcoming students and visitors alike to the Village.
Connections - Whether the connections are physical or delineated from each other, a key to uniting the designs is drawing connections between each site. Through edge conditions or physical walkways connections can be made to link the sites.
Places of Gathering - With a major point of emphasis on the idea of activation and getting people to interact not only with the buildings but with the site this requires site design that cultivates activity on both sites.
Circulation - Coupled with the idea of connections, the circulation of the site uses the site to the south as a backstop in order to help seize the activity from Ball State's campus and direct it into the Village.
The Surrounding Streets
The streets of McKinley and University are important thoroughfares for not only Ball State but the larger Muncie community. With such an importance the streets themselves need to reflect the changing of the times and offer multi-model solutions for a town that is beginning to embrace change in transportation.
McKinley Avenue is the most important road that runs through Ball State's campus. The road bisects the campus into to two large pieces. Over time the campus has built up a beautiful thoroughfare for both pedestrians and vehicles alike. The biggest issue with the road is the lack of attention given to the bicycle, for being a college campus it lacks in dedicated bike lanes.
The changes proposed involve widening the streets, but not for cars. By widening the streets 7' bike lanes in either direction and continuing onto campus, this would begin to reclaim the roads back for cyclists while freeing up sidewalks for pedestrian traffic. Along with the widened bike lanes, the sidewalks would also be widened to a total of 16' across, giving room for planters to be put in, increasing the safety between pedestrian and vehicle by building a buffer. The widened sidewalks would also allow for seating areas between planters, giving room to rest while not taking away from the sidewalk being used for commuting.
While not quite as packed with amount of traffic like McKinley Ave, University Avenue serves an important purpose at being one of the key roads that leads to Ball Memorial Hospital down the road from the site.
The proposed changes would see the same implementation of the wider bike lanes, this would give opportunities for surrounding neighborhoods a chance to bike into campus or the Village in a more plausible manner. Along with the bike lanes, the second change would be wider sidewalks with a minimum of 12' depth, as a user moves from this site into the Village the sidewalks narrow to a point where two people can not walk shoulder to shoulder while having a conversation. The proposed change would allow for two people to walk shoulder to shoulder while also using the sidewalk and bike lane combination to provide safer walking conditions for people who walk around the Village and promotes the walkability of the area rather than taking a vehicle.
The Intersection of McKinley Ave &University Ave
The intersection of McKinley and University is a transitional point for the local community. Coming from the east it marks the end of the Village, while from the north it represents the end of a majority of Ball State's campus. At this important intersection there are some issues that should be addressed.
The first being the inclusion of a protected bike intersection, this will allow bikes to change lanes and streets with a heightened level of safety in and around the intersection. This is reinforced by protected bike lanes as you approach and leave the intersection. With vehicles having a tendency to cut corners or use as much road as possible, the protected bike lanes give cyclists peace of mind when approaching these intersections. A second feature is the termination of the tree planters, this gives users an unwritten gateway showing where the university starts and stops. Finally, the 12' wide sidewalks that have been prevalent on both parts will continue through the intersection and terminate further down away from campus.
This site offers a unique chance to improve two different entities at the same time and also unite them as well. The Village has become more disconnected from the university in recent years but an opportunity arises through the Ball State Master Plan and development of this site that sits on the edge of both. The opportunity to utilize the community and activity of the university and use it to cultivate the development of a new Village gateway that can change both for the better.