Sign Changeover for University

What’s Driving the Decision?

Mount Mary College is now known as Mount Mary University.  To reflect its new status, the university initiated a campus-wide changeover to its identification signs and way-finding signs.  It looked to Sign Effectz as well as the SSA Design Group (architects) and VJS Construction Services for this project.

In addition to the changeover, the university administration recognized that it needed an upgrade in the image and type of signs it deployed on campus.  The previous signs on campus were made from basic materials and construction (posted panels which consisted of a metal face-mounted on two aluminum posts).

Project Scope

All in all, this project consisted of a total of 24 pieces, illuminated and non-illuminated main identification signs and wayfinding. The five main identification signs were illuminated, comprised of channel letter sets installed into carved stone.  Also, monument cabinet style pieces were fitted around stone structures at various corners on the campus to identify the Mount Mary brand.

The primary identification sign is located off Menomonee River Parkway, a high traffic road that borders part of the campus. Its backlit channel letters were installed into carved stone and formed concrete.   The final component for installation will be an Electronic Message Center (EMC), to communicate special events and programs being held on campus.  We hardwired the EMC unit instead of using radio control because there are too many woods and trees in the nearby area that could cause interference.  The client is currently testing the software that will run the message unit.

As visitors progress down the drives on campus, there are seven 5’ wayfinding signs and four campus maps. We also built identification signs for the main buildings on campus.  These were formed aluminum panel pieces that went into 3’ x 4.5’ carved stone.

The Challenges

This project has significant impact for the university.  And it presented two major challenges:

  1. Matching colors and stone consistently and forming angles:  Architectural features had to be consistent across all of the posted panel signs and cabinets.  Originally we thought about using extruded pieces but that would require 8 to 10 weeks. In response to this, we elected to value engineer how we could form the pieces on the new brake press in our shop.
    However, the angles couldn’t be formed on the brake.  So our design team sat down to figure out how to fabricate and bend two pieces and use them effectively.  We broke it down into two structural pieces that formed the angles and welded them together forming the necessary multiple angles.
  2. Meeting a tight deadline: The University planned a grand opening to promote its new status and had a ribbon-cutting at the monument sign on the Menomonee River Parkway in August to commemorate it, prior to the start of the new school year. This gave us only a few weeks to produce the sign and the contractor to install it (which they did on a Saturday in order to meet the deadline).  We rose to the challenge because the feedback on the sign was that it is “gorgeous”!

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