AUGUST 2, 2007

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NSU campus beautification project underway

on the NSU campus.
Work crews work to remove planters along Grand Avenue at NSU earlier this spring.

When Northeastern State University finishes its Centennial celebration in 2009, university administrators are hoping to complete an overhaul of landscaping at the university’s main campus in Tahlequah.

The two-phase plan calls for the removal of broken planters, damaged sidewalks and new landscaping along Grand Avenue, new water drainage for the interior of the campus, and the creation of Centennial Plaza at the traditional entrance to campus near Jack Dobbins Field House.

“The university’s initial plan includes a combination of beautification and water control,” said Kim Cherry, NSU Acting President. “Currently there are very limited ways for water to flow off the interior of campus, so while the university is working on new landscaping we are also looking at water drainage issues.”

The first phase of the project, which has periodically forced the closure of Grand Avenue as university and Tahlequah city work crews remove debris and re-work water and sewer lines, will create a completely revitalized landscape throughout the university once completed.

“The NSU Physical Plant work crews have taken out all of the old planters and sidewalks along Grand Avenue over the past few months,” said NSU Physical Plant Director Joe Spence. “Our crews are currently re-working sewer lines, storm drains, electrical lines and plumbing located under those planters and evaluating and re-working plans as necessary.”

Street closings have been necessary as crews remove large pieces of concrete and work with utility lines under the street. The NSU crews are working with crews from the city of Tahlequah to remove large debris. In addition to work along Grand Avenue, crews are also removing planters and the sidewalk in the breezeway between the Fine Arts Building and the Center for the Performing Arts across from the University Center.

Once the old concrete is removed and the piping and electrical work finished, NSU crews will lay new sidewalks and landscaping along Grand Avenue. Crews hope to have the beautification project completed before students return for classes in the fall.

The second phase of the plan calls for the creation of Centennial Plaza, providing a complete makeover for the campus’s southern entrance. The parking lot west of Jack Dobbins Field House will be remodeled to create a more scenic entrance, with a better view of Seminary Hall. A statue of Sequoyah, creator of the written Cherokee alphabet, will be placed at the heart of Centennial Plaza, along with additional outdoor seating and improved landscaping.

In addition to a plaza, the university is also looking to make repairs to the west side entrance of Jack Dobbins Field House.

“Over the years, that entrance has become worn down and we are looking at making improvements that will maintain the architectural and aesthetic qualities of the building,” Cherry said.

Small projects to improve the aesthetics of the campus are ongoing at the university as well. The NSU Physical Plant recently completed construction of a new sidewalk connecting Seminary Suites with the John Vaughan Library and will continue making sidewalk repairs on high traffic areas of campus.

NSU administrators are also looking at adding additional outdoor lighting for the campus, along with repairs to the fountain located next to the University Center. The university is also working on a campus master plan to map both pedestrian and vehicular traffic through campus in an effort to alleviate congestion and make navigating campus safer.

“All of these projects are being completed in concert with the renovation projects currently underway with our academic buildings,” said Cherry. “I have always heard that NSU has a beautiful campus, and we are working to maintain our reputation as the most architecturally traditional and beautiful campus in the state.”

Contact: Sean Michael Kennedy, NSU, (918) 444-2897