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Inside Iowa State, a newspaper for faculty and staff, is published by the Office of University Relations.

July 22, 2004

Color coding in MU ramp nearly complete

by Anne Krapfl

Let's face it: some of have "lost" our cars in the parking ramp at the Memorial Union. If you've worked a few years at the university, maybe more than once. Those moments of panic may be behind us.

The maintenance staff at the Union is color coding the seven levels of the ramp this summer. The color scheme follows the rainbow, starting at the bottom and working its way skyward.

"We struggle in the Union with way-finding -- and realize that the challenges start in the ramp and continue on into the building," said Kathy Svec, marketing coordinator for the Union. "We've seen other parking structures that use color as a memory guide, and thought it would be helpful here."

The project got a jump-start on June 30 when 25 students attending the Iowa 4-H Youth Conference on campus painted for a couple of hours as part of a service component of the conference. Painter Tony Winkler is continuing the work, a few hours at a time, in between other major painting projects this summer.

"The work" involves bright 26-inch paint squares on each center support column on every level in the ramp, with a stenciled white letter or number layered over it for good measure. The color also is displayed in the elevator waiting area and on the stairwell door. When the project is complete, signs in the stairwell will show the entire rainbow and indicate which color/level you are at, said Ken Umbaugh, facilities maintenance manager for the Union.

Under the former system, floor levels were apparent only in the elevator-stairwell area.

"It all looked the same in there -- and it was pretty gray," Umbaugh noted. "We think this will be simple, but helpful."

An aside:Svec also noted that by fall, all rooms on the first and second floors of the Union will be identified with standard signage -- another boost for visitors to the building.

Bright squares being painted on columns of MU ramp

Bright squares of paint on the center support columns of the Memorial Union parking ramp should help drivers remember on what level their vehicle is parked.

Color coding

WhiteMU employees only
RedB (basement)
OrangeG (ground level)
Yellow1 (indoor access to MU)
Green 2