As has been stated previously, a budget for the Atwater Landscape re-design has already been approved. This will include some baseline improvements to the Atwater site, items that we in Facilities feel need to be done to address some serious issues. This will also give the potential designer a good reference point, or at the very least less things to consider in the plan.
One major area of concern we’ve had is the area along the sidewalk next to Atwater A, the building to the west. This area has seen many washouts in heavy rain events, and creates a hazardous condition for pedestrians. We plan to add an additional storm drain just south of the intersecting sidewalk that runs east/west between the two halls, tying into the existing storm drain line already in place. Careful site grading in the two sections of quad will also help alleviate some of the drainage issues. With this storm drain in place, the reinforced turf area can be addressed, and the surrounding lawn fixed.
Speaking of lawn, in the three main sections of quad between the two dormitories and to the south of Chateau, we plan to remove most of the thin, shallow topsoil in place, and blend this with imported soil, to create a uniform 6” topsoil layer in all quads. The poor condition of the lawn and surrounding plantings can be traced directly to the soil beneath them-a thin, rocky, compacted soil at an insufficient depth to promote active plant growth.
At the upper end of the quad lie two gravel pathways. These were put in by Facilities Services a year or so ago, after being turned into pathways by student popularity. Whenever I see these pathways I think of Keene State, where, after building several dormitories, let the students walk across bare ground, no sidewalks, for several months, and then choose sidewalk locations based on the democracy seen in the dirt. These two gravel paths, not included in the original plan for Atwater, will be formalized with concrete.
The blacktop path leading down to the Atwater Dining Hall, while ADA compliant, can and will be made better with a re-design.
As has been stated before, while these baseline improvements are planning to be made, they are by no means “off the table”. Should you come up with a better solution to solve the problems presented, feel free to include them in your plan.