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Highway through campus?

EmpireappleEmpireapple 2236 replies28 threads Senior Member
Can someone speak to the highway that seems to travel through campus? I really can't imagine this and how you can have a highway that passes through a college campus. We were liking this school on paper but when my son saw this he wants to take it off the list.
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Replies to: Highway through campus?

  • MomtofourkidsMomtofourkids 410 replies38 threads Member
    Thank you for asking this question - we feel the same way! Love the school on paper and we passed it on our way to VT for a visit and were put off by the highway! Although I have heard there is a tunnel and a bridge but am wondering how cut off from the main part of campus do the kids who live on the "other side" feel. If the gym and fields are on one side that is not as bad but if housing and/or classes are there what is it like? We did apply back in August though!
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  • ClassicMom98ClassicMom98 530 replies1 threads Member
    edited November 2019
    Hopefully someone else will respond. My S is a freshmen. I've been a few times, but I'm not as familiar with the campus as others. I thought all of the dorms were on one side with a few education buildings, the rec center, ball fields and a dining hall on the other, but googling shows there is one dorm over there.

    That being said, IMO it doesn't feel like the interstate runs through campus like it appears on a map. The highway sits well below. There is a bridge you can walk, drive, bike, bus over to the other side. A tunnel? Lol. Very well could be. I just haven't seen it but I haven't spent a lot of time wandering around. To me, I guess it feels more like a satellite campus vs a highway in the middle of one campus.

    My S has classes on the other side and plays intramural sports and uses the rec center. He hasn't mentioned any issues. He is very happy there
    edited November 2019
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 35380 replies399 threads Senior Member
    I drove the highway through this campus last spring. All I can say is, from that vantage point, it sure does feel like it runs through campus.

    Thing is, everyone I know who went to JMU or knows it well (and a relative is a big deal admin there,) adores the college. I don't think I'd drop it because of the hwy. Plenty of kids, year after year, manage. I'd put it on the visit list and then guage your reactions.
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  • HHSseniorHHSsenior 18 replies0 threads Junior Member
    I went to Jmu and my daughter is currently a sophomore there. The highway really isn't a big deal. There is a tunnel and a road/footbridge to get to each side. The newer side is called East campus. Students can walk or take the bus all around the entire school. The east side has classroom buildings, 4 dorms, dining hall, library, & rec center. Most of the off campus housing is on the other side of the highway. I encourage you to visit the school. It's really a beautiful campus.
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  • GKUnionGKUnion 816 replies17 threads Member
    Can someone speak to the highway that seems to travel through campus? I really can't imagine this and how you can have a highway that passes through a college campus. We were liking this school on paper but when my son saw this he wants to take it off the list.

    @Empireapple and @Momtofourkids you would be doing your children, and yourselves a disservice by taking JMU off of your list because of a highway. The highway was there long before the new campus. When I was there in the late 80’s the only things on the other side of campus were the old basketball stadium and a few temporary trailers we took biology classes in...and an arboretum I never set foot in.

    There is both a bridge over, and tunnel under the highway. There are large libraries on either side. Both sides of campus feature multiple dining facilities. Most of the GenEd classes are on the original campus, as well as most non-Stem majors. The ISAT/CS, Engineering and Geosciences buildings are on the new side of campus. Perhaps the nicest rec center I’ve ever seen is across the highway on the new campus. The football stadium is on the old campus and they’re just finishing construction of a new basketball stadium on the new side. The four newest dorms are also on the new campus across the highway.

    I can’t say enough good things about the school. Their freshman orientation is a four day process prior to the return of upperclassmen. It goes a long way towards setting incoming students up for success during a period when they’ll be forced to operate outside their comfort zone. The school offers 350+ organizations for students to get involved in, which helps to expand their circle of friends. The D1 athletic teams are successful, the university club teams are quite competitive and there’s a rec sport for everyone to participate in. JMU is routinely rated in the top 10 for campus food. There’s Greek life, but it doesn’t monopolize the social scene. The marching band is exceptional and the performing arts programs are highly regarded.

    Most importantly the students seem down to earth. They present as both academically and socially engaged. When I’m back on campus I can’t tell you how many times a student ahead of me will wait an extended period of time to hold a door for me. Go visit before you and your students make a decision. It’s a hidden gem.
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  • MomtofourkidsMomtofourkids 410 replies38 threads Member
    @GKUnion Thank you for all the information! We did not take it off our list - in fact our DS applied in September. If and when he gets admitted (and any aid...) we are planning on visiting and staying at the Hotel Madison on campus to get the whole feel of the campus. He applied to the business school - which is building a new school so that is very nice as well! We hope to be able to have it as a possible choice for him and your info is a big help.
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  • BrielleNJ24BrielleNJ24 50 replies0 threads Junior Member
    My son applied to the business school as well, and we visited from NJ over the summer. While the highway is not a dealbreaker for him, it’s definitely a con for us. To me, it was pretty strange. I’m sure when you live there it just becomes normal but as a first time visitor I thought it was weird. It’s a great school though and we kept it on the list!
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  • cbl1cbl1 Forum Champion Virginia Tech 918 replies14 threads Forum Champion
    edited November 2019
    As a JMU alumni - the highway makes no difference in the campus - its no different then any major road that runs through a college campus (except no stoplights to worry about or crosswalks - so I consider safer).

    Sure you have to go through funnel of bridge or tunnel but how is that different then most campus where you filter through the same point on most days.

    JMU is not an overly large campus - it is fairly easy to get around (I would consider it being a little hilly to be more of a detriment to getting around than the highway) …. there is also good shuttle service around campus and buses beyond.

    As others have mentioned - the newer side was not there until the mid-90s except for the Convocation Center for Basketball games. Since then the newer part of campus has been added and the large recreation center. The new Convocation Center is being built on the new side as well. A lot of facilities now on both sides so that it really doesn't feel like 2 sides (except for the hills but hey kids are in better shape than me).
    edited November 2019
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  • GKUnionGKUnion 816 replies17 threads Member
    To @cbl1 ‘s point, JMU’s hills make it likely freshmen come home weighing less rather than gaining the, “freshman 15.”
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  • KatMTKatMT College Rep 4177 replies71 threads Senior Member
    @Empireapple and @Momtofourkids -- @GKUnion and @cbl1 sum it all up very well.

    I have been teaching at JMU since 2006, and to me it really does not feel like the highway cuts through campus.

    It is not a tiny campus, but it is walkable, and there is bus service around campus and the town. Downtown is easily walkable from West Campus, and the shopping area with the mall, Target, etc... is easily walkable from East Campus. The arboretum is beautiful and also walkable from East Campus. There are dorms, class buildings, and libraries on each side of campus. They are also building the new Convocation Center on East Campus.

    I went to Syracuse for undergrad and Penn State for grad school, and those campuses are much larger and felt more spread out to me than JMU.

    I find the students at JMU to be engaged and friendly. As others have mentioned the food is very good, it is an undergraduate focused, comprehensive university, so it offers the undergraduate focus of many smaller schools, with the range of opportunities of a larger university. Undergraduates get many hands in opportunities at JMU that other places might only go to grad students.

    It was the most recommended university in US by alumni (I think last year). The JMU network is strong as far as I can see. I have stayed here for 14 years because I love the community at JMU. I would not let the highway deter you from visiting if the school otherwise feels like a good match.
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  • Jos7ephJos7eph 9 replies0 threads New Member
    The highway is not a big deal at all.
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  • VaParent19VaParent19 39 replies15 threads Junior Member
    edited December 2019
    My son is a freshman at JMU and we've spent a lot of time on campus. The highway (I-81) separates east and west campus. The east campus is much newer, and is home to both the recreation center (UREC) as well the old (and soon-to-be-new) convocation center. STEM program classes are typically on east campus. East Campus is also home to the Honors dorm (Shenandoah). There is a library and two dining halls on East Campus as well.

    West campus is the old campus and is home to pretty much everything else.

    As folks mentioned there is a pedestrian tunnel and bridge connecting the two campuses. At most, it's a 15 minute walk. There is also frequent bus service. But those who end up living on East campus but who have classes on West Campus, will have to plan for extra time to get to/from campus. For those who want to ensure they live on West campus, one option is to apply for a residential learning community that requires living in a specific dorm. The arts, psychology, international, and music RLCs are all based on west campus.
    edited December 2019
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  • vamom4vamom4 354 replies70 threads Member
    Agreed with the views above:

    The highway (I-81) through the JMU campus is completely a non-issue and shouldn't affect your feelings about the school. It really doesn't matter at all. Not one tiny bit.

    It doesn't feel weird on campus. There is a bridge that goes over the highway and many students walking back and forth, just like it's a random street. There are dorms and classrooms and good dining halls on both sides.

    Also, keep in mind the being right off the highway is very convenient when traveling.
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  • EmpireappleEmpireapple 2236 replies28 threads Senior Member
    So do some dorms have highway views?
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  • GKUnionGKUnion 816 replies17 threads Member
    edited February 29
    @Empireapple Some sides of some dorms do.
    edited February 29
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  • kathyrainkathyrain 63 replies4 threads Junior Member
    My son is a freshman and lives on the east side of campus. The highway doesn't really run "through" the campus. It's not like the students cross the highway on their way to classes. The pedestrian tunnel is designed so that any traffic runs above and isn't a part of the campus. It looks quite different once on campus then from 81.
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