Northwestern plans new look for heart of campus

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Northwestern plans new look for heart of campus

March 22, 2016

New plans
Northwestern Oklahoma State University’s Alva campus renovations of the central mall area will consist of new concrete and brick pavers as well as a circular fountain, information kiosk, clock tower, 40 new trees and approximately 4,000 square feet of planting beds.

Northwestern Oklahoma State University officials have unveiled plans to renovate the central mall area of the Alva campus, providing an aesthetic and functional space for students, and breathe new life into one of the school’s most visible areas.

Depending on the features selected for the final plan, the project is expected to cost approximately $1.2 million. Funding for the project is included in the University’s capital campaign, and the plans are being shown to top donors.

“It is a long overdue project and one that will have immediate impact on the look of our campus,” Dr. Janet Cunningham, university president, said. “Prospective students and their families often judge a university by its exterior look. The mall area does not present a great first impression and certainly is not representative of our commitment to providing a great learning environment.”

The mall area stretches from Jesse Dunn Hall on the east side of campus westward to the Joe J. Struckle Education Center. In the center of the area are the Student Center, J.W. Martin Library, Science Building and Fine Arts Building.

“It is the most traveled area of our campus and provides access to some of our most used facilities,” Cunningham, said.

The area is plagued by crumbling sidewalks, an unusable fountain, dated planting beds and inconsistent landscaping. The current fountain is being removed in a short-term effort to improve the look of the area.
In recent listening sessions conducted as part of the strategic planning process, several groups, including students and alumni, cited the mall area as contributing to the look of an aging campus.”

The proposed plan for the project replaces the current square fountain with a new circular one. New features include a clock tower and an informational kiosk.

Existing walkways will be replaced by new concrete and brick pavers. Landscaping includes more than 40 new trees and 4,000 square feet of planting beds.

“The reality today is prospective students choose with their eyes,” Cunningham said. “We believe this project will not only enhance the look of Northwestern and address some major infrastructure needs, but likely change some perceptions as well.”