posted on June 28: Campus beautification projects include plans for a town square


[img_inline align=”right” src=”” caption=”Jennifer Viveiros (L) and Jessica Pigeon work on c”]McMaster will soon have a “town square.” That's the term used by physical plant staff to describe one of the campus beautification projects under way this summer.

“Everything's coming out,” says grounds co-ordinator Len Van Hoffen, referring to grounds area around the University flags. “All the asphalt will be ripped out from the Burke Science Building to the sidewalk, the flower beds, everything except for the flag poles.”

The plan is to replace the asphalt with grey-patterned concrete that will be set off with lines of white concrete. The raised bed in the Gwen George Garden that often shows the McMaster “M” in flowers will be three times as large and the overgrown junipers behind the raised bed will be replaced with perennials. The garden, which lies empty now following the removal this spring of the shrubs and plants that were there, will be 2.4 metres (eight feet) wider. Van Hoffen says eventually tall fountain grasses, hostas and day lilies will be planted with annuals along the side. Mums will probably be put in first so there will be flowers by early fall.

The memorial rock for Gwen George has been removed temporarily while the work is being done and it will be replaced once the garden is refurbished, says Van Hoffen. Eight ironwood trees have already been moved from Hedden Hall and are now on either side of the garden.

The large concrete rectangular space between the garden and the Burke Science Building will have new benches. “It will be like a town square where people could make announcements with the garden behind them,” says Van Hoffen.

The funding for this project is coming from the McMaster University Futures Fund (MUFF). Tenders are being prepared and work will likely begin by early July, Van Hoffen says.

Elsewhere on campus trees are being planted thanks to MUFF funding. Van Hoffen says he would like to establish an arboretum walk where people could stroll around campus to look at a variety of different trees. This season he's planning on putting in Amur cork trees, European walnuts, many different varieties of oak, service berries, tulip trees, sycamore and red buds.

In addition to the planting of new trees, already established trees are being moved around. A Japanese lilac was moved from behind Matthews Hall to the front of the engineering building. And the Nootka tree in front of Burke Science was moved a bit to the south to make room for the ironwoods.

“We take them out with a 10-foot high tree spade,” says Van Hoffen. “The 101-inch root ball helps the tree to establish itself and then we give it over 100 litres of water per week and special shock fertilizer.”

Twenty-five McMaster students are working this summer to keep the campus beautiful. Van Hoffen has divided them into three different crews: mowing, gardening and tree-planting. “We couldn't run without them,” says Van Hoffen.

Other projects planned to make the campus more beautiful include the hanging of flower baskets along University Avenue and the planting of a variety of different types of day lilies around Thode Library so there will be blooms all summer long.

GREEN THUMBS: Fourth-year kinesiology student Jennifer Viveiros (L) and fourth-year chemical engineering student Jessica Pigeon are part of the campus landscaping crews this summer.

Photo: Shelly Easton