Trustees to vote on entrance-way renovation

Later this month, the Mercyhurst College Board of Trustees will vote on a landscaping project to update the entrance-way on East 38th Street.

“This project evolved from a Master Landscaping Plan done by Dahlkemper Landscape Architects and Contractors and a Mercyhurst College Committee two years ago,” Executive Vice President of Administration Thomas Billingsley said.

On Thursday, Jan. 7, Billingsley asked the Buildings and Grounds Committee to design new landscaping for the front entrance. However, for the project to progress, the Board of Trustees must approve the plan as part of the preliminary budget for 2010-2011.

If the Board of Trustees approves the entrance- way project at their next meeting, construction could begin as soon as June 2010 and finish as soon as August.

This project would be the first to change the appearance of the front entrance since the 1970s.

Some students did not respond positively to the proposed project.

“I don’t think they should do anything to the front gates, especially not to ‘update’ them since they are historic. There are other buildings on campus, such as the gym, that actually need an update,” freshman Diane Bojarski said.

Other students did not place much importance on the development.
“My parents always go in the back entrance since it’s closer to Warde,” sophomore Erica Gallagher said. “I’m not really sure of the traffic issues or convenience issues.”

“It would be a shame to lose the gates that seem so much a symbol of the traditional Mercyhurst values, but is there a reason other than image for remodeling the entrance?” sophomore Chelsea Schermerhorn asked. “If not, then it is a waste of the college’s money, and a destruction of a community’s morale. The money could be put to better use with a scholarship or changing something on campus that needs to be changed.”

Plans do not, as yet, involve the gates themselves. Rather, construction will focus on installing sidewalks so students do not need to walk on the road when exiting the front gate.

These sidewalks would be enhanced with benches and two lines of trees. The trees would replace the ones standing by the front drive, which have been damaged during winter storms.

The budget and design process have not been decided upon.

The Board of Trustees will make their decision to approve or reject the project Thursday, Jan. 21.