"The idea is to help simplify our road system and improve way-finding," said Andrew McBride, associate vice president for facilities.

McBride said what one saw when they entered a campus is important. Currently, when visitors enter campus via River Road, it looks as if they are entering the back of an apartment complex, he said.

The new 176-bed South Campus Apartments are part of the master plan, and will be completed by fall 2014. This summer, the 200, 900, 1500, 1600 and 1700 blocks of the University Forest Apartments will be torn down, McBride said.

The work over the next two summers will cost $2.8 million, said David Hale, vice president for business and finance at Richmond. Shoosmith Construction, a site contractor, will be conducting the project.

The master plan information packet on Richmond's website says: "the point where visitors cross onto University property is some distance from the point when visitors know that they have arrived at the University of Richmond. This delay in arrival can be disconcerting to first-time and occasional visitors."

The new River Road entrance "will give visitors the view of the main university icon, the Boatwright tower," McBride said. There will also be an area for visitors to pull over and view a large campus map when they enter.

This summer, the Henrico County side of campus by the River Road entrance will be renovated, McBride said. In summer 2015, the city of Richmond side of campus by the Three Chopt Road entrance will be renovated.

The main change will be to make UR Drive the main north-south road on campus to make it easier to navigate, McBride said.

"The road will start at the River Road entrance and end near the old trolley stop by the Business School," he said.

"The university is committed to developing a clear, high-quality entry and arrival experience at each gateway of the campus," according to the master plan.

Contact reporter Mary Rossiter at mary.rossiter@richmond.edu