URI landscaping project around Green, Ranger halls proceeds to second phase

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KINGSTON, R.I. – June 22, 2010 – Workers have completed the first phase of the $1.5 million Ranger/Green Hall landscape and infrastructure project and will begin the next phase this week.

The initial phase, completed south and west of Green Hall, included new and wider walkways that are accessible to people with disabilities, new drainage systems, landscaping and tree and shrub trimming. The main walkway that ran from Green’s front door west to Campus Avenue has been replaced with a wider, reinforced concrete walk. Grassed areas along the walk are being restored.

Phase B will include similar improvements in areas between Ranger Hall and Green Hall, Green and Morill Hall, as well as to the east between Swan Hall and Green. Campus community members should be alert to the changes in construction fencing.

“Many of you probably remember that the area between Ranger and Green was a 50-space parking lot,” said Robert A. Weygand, vice president for Administration and Finance, during a campus information session in Green Hall. “Since adoption of the University’s master plan in 2000, this area has been targeted for landscape and infrastructure improvements that would turn this area into an attractive pedestrian green space. This is not just an infrastructure project, it is work that will enhance our efforts to recruit and retain students, greatly improve pedestrian movement to buildings and improve our maintenance of the area.

“This is one of the first areas visiting high school students see when they come for our open houses and tours,” Weygand said. “It’s important to make a good first impression and to create positive lasting impressions among our students, staff and faculty.”

The entire project, which is slated to be completed by mid-November, includes drainage improvements and enhancements to pedestrian traffic patterns. Phase B is set for completion in September while Phase C will get under way that month. The final part of the project involves the area between Edwards and Ranger Hall.

Lisa Esterrich, an associate with the project architect, Carol R. Johnson Associates Inc. of Boston, and graduate of URI’s landscape architecture program, provided additional details during the informational forum.

She explained how the renowned Olmsted Brothers Landscape Architectural Firm, which was founded by Frederick Law Olmsted Sr., designed the Kingston Campus, with its main Quadrangle, and a second quad in the Green Hall area.

She said as the decades passed and no second quad materialized, the area around Green developed in a way that did not match or even complement the main Quadrangle. She showed photos of walkways along the Quad that never reached the second area and tree lines that ended abruptly.

Nearly 10 diseased or dead trees in the Green-Ranger area will be removed and new mature trees will be planted in their places. One healthy maple tree will come down to make a walkway accessible to people with disabilities.

“We will be planting disease resistant elm trees along the main walkways to match what exists on the Quadrangle,” Esterrich said.

As part of the Phase B work, a pedestrian plaza with seat walls will be constructed. All of the concrete will be reinforced, which will resist cracking and chipping. Other seating areas will be constructed outside Swan and Quinn halls.

The Ranger-Green project is one of several campus landscaping and beautification projects. The first, which was completed earlier this year, involved the entrance to the Visitors Center. The next project will improve the area from the Memorial Union bus loop to the end of the Dieter Hammersschlag Mall at the Robert L. Carothers Library and Learning Commons.

Pictured above

A GREENER GREEN: This rendering shows the extensive exterior improvement work in the Green Hall-Ranger Hall area. Rendering courtesy of Carol R. Johnson Associates Inc. of Boston.

THE THREE PHASES: This diagram shows the three phases of the Ranger/Green Landscape Infrastructure Project. Rendering courtesy of Carol R. Johnson Associates Inc. of Boston.