Safety, space issues root of the problem

Mel Brisendine

The rhododendrons, Katsura trees and barberry shrubs growing outside the Brouillet Library/Science Building were removed in April.

Some professors and students were disheartened to see these plants eliminated before they were able to bloom this spring.

The rhododendrons would bloom every spring with vibrant red, highlighting the pathway to the LSC. Instead of being uprooted and transported to another location, they were chipped and distributed in planter beds across campus as biodegradable compost.

“I wish the plants were allowed to bloom this spring before being cut,” Marlene Ignacio, professor of the natural science division, said. “Also, I wish that the plants were uprooted instead and transferred somewhere in the campus grounds.”

According to Jim Taylor, director of facilities and construction manager, the roots were overgrown, causing danger to the electrical and irrigation lines located within the planter beds as well as the concrete surrounding the plants.

The grounds staff members attempted to salvage the plants but were unable to uproot them because of how entangled the roots had become. The plants were outgrowing the space and if they’d been dug out, the lines could have been damaged.

“Our grounds and maintenance teams will be cleaning out the beds, inspecting and repairing, as necessary, electrical and irrigation systems, adding some additional electrical capability for future lighting improvements in this area, replacing topsoil, and replanting,” Taylor said.

The grounds and maintenance staff members are working to thin overcrowded vegetation within the interior areas of the campus as part of the overall effort to improve sightlines and lighting in the central areas of the campus for safety and security purposes.

The plants were removed in order to provide the opportunity to rework the entire beds at once. The beds will be replanted with low growing native flowering plants through the spring.

In water run-off areas, they will be supplemented with other vegetation such as native ferns and rhododendrons.

In addition to the maintenance, more manageable new plants and lighting improvements. Plans include possibly adding and replacing benches.

Staff members will conduct ongoing inspections and removal of damaged and potentially dangerous trees or tree branches. They also will remove invasive plant species such as blackberries and scotch broom.

Taylor said he hadn’t  intended to upset students and faculty of the removal of the plants. The maintenance of the nature on campus is important to Taylor, as well as the grounds staff.

“They’re a hard-working and dedicated group and are sincerely committed to doing a good job for the college,” Taylor said. “They deserve considerable credit for their efforts and I hope this will continue to be recognized and appreciated by all.”

Taylor also says it’s a priority to continue making the campus attractive and preserve this unique environment.

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Safety, space issues root of the problem

by admin time to read: 2 min