Several trees slated to be removed near Avery Hall will be preserved in the revised Library Road project plan presented by WSU President Elson S. Floyd to a group of faculty and staff Tuesday, Aug. 26.
The revised plan will protect the large red oak in the middle of the yard and most other trees west of Hello Walk. In the overall courtyard area, seven trees will be retained; eight will be removed and replaced.
Two trees close to Avery Hall west of Hello Walk — one diseased and one that would be impacted by construction of a retaining wall — will be removed. Several cedar trees along Library Road east of Hello Walk will be removed to allow the road to be widened to facilitate bus parking and pedestrian and emergency access.
“This is about the best we can do to accommodate all the various needs in that area,” said Floyd. He said the two overriding considerations he had in re-examining the project were preserving as many trees as possible and establishing a better corridor in front of Kimbrough for pedestrians and bus loading and unloading.
Those attending the meeting expressed their appreciation for Floyd’s efforts, though some had continued concerns about the project’s overall impact. Several attendees said the university needs to do a better job of briefing the campus community in advance on the extent of infrastructure projects.
“There is a feeling on campus that these projects are not fully vetted in the detail that they should be before the projects begin,” said Christopher Lupke, assistant professor of Chinese. He said university officials should do more to “front-load bad news” so people wouldn’t be surprised by the impacts of construction.
The president agreed. He said the university plans to develop a comprehensive master plan that would include input by a committee of faculty, staff and students focusing on campus trees and the need to communicate the impact of projects.
Floyd said the Avery trees will be replaced by relatively mature trees, as opposed to smaller trees some have called saplings. He said the university is open to suggestions on which types of trees would be the best fit.
English professor Michael Hanly, a leader in the effort to save the trees, thanked the president but said he was still unhappy with the project’s overall impact.
James Stone, construction engineer, said the Library Road project is running ahead of schedule. The project will move into completing sections originally scheduled for the 2009 construction season.