In five years, the campus will look and feel much different from today. Fewer drivable surfaces, more pedestrian walkways, and more green space will be features of a more collegiate, walkable, and environmentally-friendly campus envisioned in the Campus Master Plan.
Renovations to the Quad and Watson Hall courtyard, scheduled to begin this summer, are steps toward realizing the vision. Plans call for closing three inner-campus roadways to vehicular traffic, Pardee Drive, Quad Drive, and the section of High Street in front of Watson Hall.
“It is important to make the College more pedestrian-friendly for safety, health, beauty, efficiency, and sustainability,” says Mary Wilford-Hunt, director of facilities planning and construction. While virtually every area of campus is within a five-minute walk of the Quad, some routes lack pedestrian-friendly amenities, such as sidewalks and buffers from oncoming traffic. The Quad and Watson Hall projects will improve pedestrian safety by introducing an enhanced network of paths and walkways. From an environmental standpoint, the projects also will decrease impervious surfaces, decrease vehicular traffic, improve storm-water maintenance, and result in additional plantings across campus.
Pardee Drive and Quad Drive, which allow cars to drive into the heart of campus, will be replaced with brick pathways, returning the Quad to an entirely pedestrian realm. Additional pathways, enhanced with lighting, benches, and landscaping, will improve the beauty of this expansive space that affords students, faculty, staff, and visitors the opportunity to interact with each other in an active and flexible outdoor setting. The Watson Hall courtyard will be transformed into a gathering area for students, with pathways, benches, and plantings.
Assuming the College receives all required permits and approvals from the City of Easton, work on the Watson Hall courtyard and Pardee Drive will begin this summer and carry into early fall. Plans call for the work on Quad Drive to begin next summer and wrap up next fall. The improvements will eliminate a number of parking spaces in the inner campus. To compensate, parking will added on the perimeter of campus.
(See “Earth Day Every Day” and “College Makes Dramatic Strides in Sustainability” in this issue.)