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      WT to permanently close 26th Street to vehicles

      Students at West Texas A&M University no longer have to look both ways when crossing 26th Street, because as of Aug. 25 no cars will be allowed to drive down it.

      Chief of Campus Police, Shawn Burns, said it's been in talks for a few years, because of the amount of students who walk across the street to get to campus.

      "That's our concentrated student residential area," Burns said. "We've added two residential halls down there, and we've increased the number of students crossing that street."

      Burns said any time the university can eliminate mixing pedestrians and vehicles, it will. He said the university is trying to become a more pedestrian friendly campus.

      According to Burns three gates have been ordered, running a tab of nearly $61,000.

      "They're going to be nice, they're going to be metal, they're going to be decorative, so they're going to serve an esthetic service," Burns said.

      Until the permanent gates are in, Burns said they'll put up barricades so that commuters can start adjusting to the change on campus. He said they will open the gates for students to be able to move in-and-out of their halls, but they'll stay closed a majority of the year.

      "The first gate will be right in front of Founders Hall, our second gate right along Russell Long Blvd., and the third gate will be behind Shirley Hall," Burns said.

      As far as losing parking spaces, campus police have relocated some spaces south of the library, and others near Centennial Hall.

      "Itâ??s going to be an adjustment, but I think it will be an easy one," Burns said.