A new pedestrian mall on the Tarleton campus has opened this week, just in time for the university to welcome approximately 8,500 students for the fall 2012 semester.

After nearly six months of construction, the former block of Jones Street that runs between Rome and Lillian streets adjacent to the university’s three newest student residential halls, has been converted into a landscaped pedestrian mall complete with a steel arbor accented with red brick, as well as numerous seating areas for students to gather.

Tarleton acquired several roadways within the campus from the city of Stephenville and opted to close portions of the streets to ensure the safety of students crossing the campus and limit vehicular access to certain areas of the university.

The mall features scored concrete and brick inlays as well as wrought iron fencing and red brick accents, and is the final step in completing Tarleton’s recent student housing expansion after the opening of Legacy Hall in fall 2011. The mall also provides a safe walking route that connects the university’s Barry B. Thompson Student Center to west campus facilities such as the Recreational Sports Center and intramural sports complex.

Contractors also recently began work on the Rome Street improvement project, which is scheduled to be completed toward the end of the fall 2012 semester. Once completed, the revamped thoroughfare will provide a beautiful new gateway to the campus.

The Rome street design calls for widening the street, adding sidewalks and a dedicated bike path, benches and extensive landscaping. Also, the plan takes into account any future growth to the west with infrastructure improvements, including storm drainage, sewer lines and underground utilities.

There will be periodic access points for pedestrians from the east side of Rome to Memorial Stadium, the Rec Sports Center and practice fields on the west side of the street. The estimated $2.4 million project is utilizing Permanent University Funds that can only be used for construction.??