Park planned for south mall

The piles of dirt between the Student Union and the bookstore have a purpose – they are to eventually be part of a new park.

“It’s been in the works for a while, but it’s definitely going to happen,” said Assistant Dean of Students Donna Rogers.

Plans call for a new park complete with shrubbery, berms, benches and walkways.

Funding for the project came from an allocation of $50,000 by President Franklyn Jenifer to the Student Government Association (SGA) to be used for campus beautification. After the final price of the design is agreed upon, they will “explore options for further funding,” Rogers said.

Angela Hooper, of the Allen- based design firm Visual Elements, has been chosen as the landscape designer for the park.

She will work in conjunction on a separate project funded by Margaret McDermott to spruce up the McDermott Library. Rogers said having one designer work on both projects will lead to a more unified final product.

Students look forward to the new park also.

“I’m excited about the park. It’s going to make campus more of a welcoming, attractive place and will improve our image when we are recruiting and trying to work with community members,” said SGA Vice President Sophie Rutenbar.

As the first thing visitors see when entering campus on University Parkway, the park will become a focal point.

“There has been some call for a sculpture or something,” Rogers said.

Although there are no definitive plans at this point, the possibility for a sculpture and lighting could be worked into the design at a later date, Rogers said.

The long-term plan for campus calls for the current Drive A to become a pedestrian zone, and as such, the administration is reluctant to make a significant investment in a piece of sculpture or other architecture in the proposed park, Rutenbar said.

After Hooper returns cost estimates for the park, procurement will handle the bidding procedure for appropriate parts of the project, which takes approximately 30 days, Rogers said, adding that groundbreaking could begin in May or June.

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