City panel says ETHS should scale back signage plan

A rendering of one of the signs in plans submitted to the city.

Members of a city committee charged with approving signs told Evanston Township High School officials this afternoon they were going overboard with a plan to place dozens of new wayfinding signs around the school grounds.

The high school has been involved in a multi-year effort to make it easier for students and visitors to find their way around the 52-acre campus -- and has completed signage improvements inside the school building.


Takumi Iseda.

ETHS Director of Communications Takumi Iseda told the city's Design and Project Review Committee that the new phase of the project will extend the signage upgrades to the exterior grounds of the campus.

Gary Gerdes, building and inspectional services manager for the city, said the city code limits informational signs to four square feet, while many of the signs proposed are from 6 to 24 square feet in size.

He said the school's plans also call for multiple signs within a very limited area, which he suggested, could actually make wayfinding more difficult.

Lara Biggs, head of the city's engineering bureau, said monument signs near roadway intersections should be lower than what the school is proposing -- so that drivers could see over them.

School officials said surveys have shown that campus visitors now are having difficulty finding the way to their destinations and deciding where to park.

The signage system, which matches three entrances to three parking lots, is designed to solve that problem.

After considerable discussion, the committee agreed to send a few of its members to a follow-up meeting with school officials at ETHS to review revised plans before those plans head to the City Council for final approval.

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Signs of good taste

ETHS should have internet maps and guidance to allow visitors to be prepared before theit visit.