Street address system for campus buildings is nearly ready

Several years in the planning stage, Iowa State is preparing to implement a street address system for all campus buildings. The goal is to have the new numbering system in place and the freestanding concrete/brown building signs changed by the end of the calendar year. Street addresses could be announced next month.

A primary reason for street addresses is to shorten response times for emergency personnel. Street addresses also are expected to help visitors with way finding and simplify the task for package delivery and taxi-type services. Mail to campus buildings will continue to be routed through postal and parcel services.

Campus planner Cathy Brown said other large universities recently have completed their own building address systems, so Iowa State is able to learn from those efforts.

In addition to buildings, Brown said the new system will assign street addresses to campus parking lots and open spaces such as the cross country course and the various intramural recreation fields. It will align with the city of Ames' numbering grid, for example 100-numbered buildings in the first block north of Lincoln Way or 1200-sequenced buildings immediately south of 13th Street.

But there's no street ...

Brown said a committee is paying special attention to a group of about 15 buildings that aren't adjacent to a named campus road and for which the street address is not apparent – Catt and Marston halls, for example. Decisions will be made soon on addresses for that set of buildings.

GPS, Google maps

Another part of developing the street address system is assigning global positioning system (GPS) coordinates to all buildings, parking lots and outdoor spaces. That task is underway. So, even if a street address seems a bit quirky – for example, if Marston Hall ends up with a Bissell Road address – anyone with a GPS device could easily locate the building.

Iowa State planners also have opened communications with Google about downloading ISU building addresses and coordinates into the company's map database. The timeline for completing that is not firm.

New signs, new function

Brown said that when they're completed, Iowa State's building signs will contain only a building name and its street address. Units housed in a building no longer will be listed on the sign.

Other project details, including an FAQ, will be shared with the university community as they are finalized.