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’Dozing between classes: FGCU uses summer months to remodel the library lawn

Florida Gulf Coast University has gone green, or at least its fences have. On May 1, Tom Mayo, the Director of Facilities Planning, announced that the Library Lawn would undergo extensive remodeling. Big green fences were put into place the next day, blocking all entry to the grassy area between the Library, Howard Hall and the Wellness Center. Construction began the day after spring finals ended.

The project was influenced by a committee of Student Government members, the staff advisory council, faculty members and Michael Rollo, the vice president of student affairs. The construction work will add expanded plazas and outdoor gathering areas, including classroom-like features such as tables and chairs, wider paved walkways and sod replacement. Plans also include the addition of native pants and gardens to enhance landscaping.

“All paving, landscaping and sod will be done by the start of the fall semester,” Mayo said. “There may be some lingering things like light poles or furniture that may not make it in time, but they will be implemented before the year ends. The Veteran’s Pavilion will have not changed, although there may be a change in landscaping to make sure water flows around it properly.”

Mayo inherited his position to oversee this project a year and a half ago. The main goal for the new layout is to find an easy way to connect the academic core with the dirt lot near the intramural fields, which will eventually occupy more academic buildings in the future. According to Mayo, the transformation will greatly enhance the exterior environment of the most prominent open space on campus.

“The committee was trying to accomplish a way to alleviate pedestrian congestion that usually builds up in the plaza and the library lawn during the fall semesters,” Mayo said. “There really isn’t enough space to accommodate that need so we are adding on some paved area so that we might encourage faculty and student engagement.”

The design was created with the University’s mission statement and dedication to sustainability in mind. The majority of the plants that existed prior to the construction will be uprooted and replanted near the completion of the project. Senior legal studies major Angelique Bonner is working on campus throughout the summer and has seen a lot of the construction changes as they’re being made. She sees the construction as both positive and negative.

“I definitely am excited to see the campus,” Bonner said. “I’m just kind of worried they are going to be doing it when tour groups and orientation students are taking tours so they can’t see the library or the lawn. “They just see a bunch of blocked off land. It’ll be cool in the long run, but it makes new students have to guess and imagine what everything is going to look like at the school they’re going to attend.”

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