Noble Trees Updates
As we embark on a celebration of Louisiana Tech’s first 125 years, we believe that it is important to ensure that future generations are able to connect to Tech’s history and experience those things that have been special about Tech since its founding in 1894. Our Quad, with the iconic Lady of the Mist surrounded by classic historic buildings, has served as the central core of campus throughout most of its history. Surely, John P. Graham must have walked these grounds in 1927 as he wrote the words about pleasant walks and noble trees in Louisiana Tech’s Alma Mater.
When we engaged campus master planners in 2014, they recommended that we celebrate and enhance the Quad to reflect the growing scale and national impacts of the institution. The master planners laid out a Campus Green that would ultimately connect the Quad and Keeny Circle to Memorial Gym, creating a larger space to be more pedestrian friendly and welcoming while fostering social interactions, reflection and relaxation. The Campus Green will also more strongly connect other academic buildings like Hale Hall, Woodard Hall, George T. Madison and the Ropp Center to the campus core.
We are presently moving parking from the core of the campus to the perimeter in preparation for the Campus Green. And we have been initiating other projects like updating campus lighting with LED lights, enhancing accessibility through pleasant walkways, addressing sustainable water distribution and drainage needs, decluttering and simplifying landscaping, and preserving and enhancing our noble trees.
Our current plans start in the Quad, the core of our campus, and develop outward from there. In addition to the recent Quad LED lighting project, we have engaged a landscape master planner and an arborist to help us determine how to increase the health of our existing trees, remove trees that are near the end of life, and plant new trees that will restore the core of our campus and lay the foundation for the Campus Green. Thanks to a generous benefactor and contributions from many others through a crowd-funding initiative, we have initiated the Quad & Keeny Circle Noble Tree project that should be completed before the end of Spring. Careful thought and consideration has been given to preservation of those things that can be preserved and protected, and for using materials, trees and plants that are native to the area while providing a variety of colors for accent during different seasons.
We expect the arborists to begin removing a few trees in the Quad and Keeny Circle before the end of April. They will also begin to prune and provide health treatments to other trees. Landscapers have already carefully selected trees that will be planted throughout the Quad and Keeny Circle. Several of the trees will be larger diameter (approximately 6″) to provide for a more rapid restoration of the Quad treescape. Our goal is to make use of all removed tree debris to enhance our campus (more on that later.)
At the same time, we will be removing the old red bricks and structures between GTM, Wyly Tower and the bookstore to declutter the area and enhance accessibility. Certain unnecessary sidewalks will be removed and a new sidewalk connecting GTM and the bookstore will be added. Most of this area will be sodded with new grass. Later, as we begin to expand the Campus Green, we will likely add trees and other features in this area.
Simultaneously, we will be adding new trees to the new Legacy Park housing project along Homer Street near California Avenue. And other tree projects are being planned. I will provide updates on the schedule as soon as possible.
Our goal is to plant 1,000 trees on the Louisiana Tech campus, and to do so in a way that enhances the campus environment for all. The 80 trees that are part of the Quad, Keeny and Legacy Park plantings will get us to over 30% of that goal.
We invite you to be a part of the Noble Trees project. You can participate through our Tech Alumni Bull Market website: https://bullmarket.latechalumni.org/project/7934. Funds that exceed that target will enable us to move forward more quickly with other tree projects.