Campus green improvements continue

Campus green improvements continue
Landscapers lay sod near Commons Drive. Photo by Olivia Bertino.

The campus green will continue to see improvements this academic year after beginning renovations this past spring and summer.

The future plan for the green is centered around multipurpose use with a significant emphasis on recreational services.

Renovations of the green began back in April 2022. In order to create an open area, numerous trees were removed. Throughout the summer, the construction crews worked on flattening the land, repouring the concrete sidewalks and installing lights.

A retention pond was installed between the Froiland Science Complex and Bergsaker Hall on the south side of campus to help decrease the amount of flooding on the campus. The pond should be complete by October with the addition of a fountain, according to Rick Tupper, the associate vice president for campus safety and logistics.

President Stephanie Herseth Sandlin said that sod was acquired and will be laid sometime in the month of September.

Shannan Nelson, Augustana’s chief financial officer, made the final decision that turf would be too expensive. Many students also advocated for real grass to support the ecosystem.

Because the whole green will be laid with sod, it will be available for limited use by some student organizations in October.

The improved campus green will have an all-grass playing field, new lighting and landscaping. Photo submitted by Rick Tupper.

While Herseth Sandlin originally advocated for no barriers, she said there may be something posted while the sod settles and roots so that it will be completely ready for the spring.

In addition to sod grass, stadium-type lights will be angled on the field area of the green to allow for nighttime activities. Late night events, like UBG game nights or concerts, will take place in the lit area.

There is still debate about painting lines on the field for recreational sports teams, according to Tupper.

The green will also provide a place for an outdoor classroom, which will be functional by next spring if weather permits. Benches will be placed on the circular concrete pad near the pond in the coming weeks. When classes are not in session, the outdoor classroom will be an open area to study.

Additionally, numerous wooden poles have been placed around campus and will be available for hammocking this coming spring.

The initial proposal to update the green was presented to the board of trustees in April 2021.

“The reason we have some money to do that is because when the board approved the student housing project and public bond sale that was for [a] new residence hall, renovations of the two infrastructure improvements, including the campus green, resulted in some proceeds from that bond sale of about $5 million,” Herseth-Sandlin said.

In the events leading up to the groundbreaking, staff encouraged students to attend planning meetings so their voices could be heard and they could have a say on what they wanted to see.