Construction of “The Quad” begins on campus

By December, the mound of Carolina clay should be gone from between the Alumni Tower and the new residence hall of Blue Ridge. Replacing the bull dozers and fencing will be a large paved walkway, bountiful trees, and an underground fountain. All of this is a part of the three-step beautification project of Western Carolina’s campus dubbed “The Quad.”

In an effort to make Western Carolina a “pedestrian campus,” new construction has been underway since the summer. Half of the University Center lawn was ripped up because of sick trees and to continue with the campus updates that go back to the 2000 referendum bond given to schools and universities from the state to maintain and rebuild their schools. Due to lack of funds, The Quad construction was only able to begin now.

Wiley Harris, director of facilities planning, design, and construction , was enthused about the new project and says the new fountain has nothing to do with that every other UNC campus has a fountain.

“No,” he insisted, “it (the fountain) was just an interest… we don’t have one on campus… it gives beauty to the campus… we thought it would entice the area.”

Called the Point of Youth fountain, the feature will act as a geyser, shooting water straight into the air to fall back onto the ground and flow back to the mouth of the fountain. Its location will be in the middle of the Quad, surrounded by walkways and the fifty or so trees that are supposed to be planted.

Students have been vocally disgruntled about their loss of lawn and trees where there was a Hammock Lane before exam week along with plenty of room to run around when the dorms grew too cramped. Harris says not to worry.

“We’ll be planting a lot of trees and landscaping,” he said. “Between the Quad and Blue Ridge… that will be reshaped into a grass area.”

Still, students just want the construction to move to a different campus.

“They ripped out my trees senior year,” said soon-to-be-graduating student Andy Sexton. “It is asinine! In my last year I have to go single file beside Reid to get to my class… I have had to deal with construction my entire college career… They are destroying Western’s mountain aesthetic!”

“They’re taking away our grassy area just to put in a fountain,” said sophomore Daniel Slater. “…It’s pointless.”

Currently, construction is on schedule and students will receive a construction-free middle campus in time for spring semester. However after “The Quad”  is completed, construction will begin to take place near Scott Hall to be finished by April. In total, both projects are estimated to cost $1.4 million.