Instead of promoters, vendors and evangelists, chunks of concrete and bulldozers now litter the Plaza. Construction to renovate the Plaza started on Monday, July 10. Officials expect the work to be finished by Halloween.
Although the Plaza will be torn up, the covered walkway right next to the building will leave access to the main doors of the Lory Student Center. The renovation will push vendors and other groups that typically overtake the Plaza once school starts south toward the library and Clark Building.
“The goal is to create a more pedestrian friendly space, which equals a better social space,” said Fred Haberecht, a landscape architect for CSU. “And to remove the cracked, 40-year-old pavement.”
To make the Plaza more “pedestrian friendly,” workers will add more grass and benches to the high-traffic area. American elms will replace the buckeye trees that currently line the eastern edge.
Adding the American elms will not only eventually add shade to the Plaza, but also throwback to old school CSU. Until the ’60s, the Oval and its towering elms were the heart of campus. But the Plaza eventually replaced it with the addition of the Clark Building, the Morgan Library and the current student center.
A water feature in the “Student Square,” between the Clark Building and future Computer Science Building, will further define the Plaza as the core of campus, Haberecht said.
The Plaza overhaul is the first phase of a landscaping project meant to make campus architecture look more unified.
“This is part of a long range plan to make Colorado State’s architecture more cohesive,” said Keith Ickes, vice president of Administrative Services, according to a press release from CSU.
The next step is converting Isotope Drive and University Drive to pedestrian pathways. The culmination of the project will be the construction of a four-story, $13 million Computer Science building on what is now the west lawn of the Natural Resources building, according to the press release.
Although the new building is still in the early stages of design, construction is supposed to start in the spring, said Haberecht.
The Student Facility Fee and money from Referendum C will fund the projects.
Haberecht, along with four student employees for Facilities management, Nick Aceto, Ty Sturgeon, Caitlin Weller, Cory Hallam, started designing the landscaping on May 1.
The students said they had a fair amount of input in the project and enjoy seeing their schematics and graphics come to life.
“I’m happy to see stuff getting started,” said Sturgeon, a fifth year landscaping architechture major. “I do a lot of projects for school that are purely academic, so it’s fun to work with Fred on stuff that is really happening.”
The Plaza isn’t the only part of CSU getting a facelift. The Clark Building is getting a new coat of deep red and tan paint to break up its massive appearance and complement the adjacent Plant Science Building, according to the press release.
Renovation of Clark’s interior will displace some classes to the 200-seat lecture hall being created in Johnson Hall on the Oval, the press release said.
Kate Dzintars can be reached at email@example.com.