Bobcat Trail, one of the many construction projects on campus, is approaching completion. However, some are not happy with its outcome.
Rebecca Bell-Metereau, English professor and faculty senator, said Bobcat Trail did not meet her plant life expectations.
“We had understood that it was going to be green space and most of it is brick and concrete,” Bell-Metereau said, referring to the Faculty Senate’s opinion.
Construction of Bobcat Trail, which began in June 2014, cost $5.48 million and was delayed as a result of underground obstructions. According to the campus construction website, the project is currently 75 percent finished and will reach “substantial completion” by March 31.
Michael Petty, director of campus planning, design and construction, said the amount of green space wasn’t decreased from the amount in the original plan.
Petty said there is proof that the contrary is true and that green space has actually been increased.
“We understand that trees are important,” Petty said. “We actually did an aerial study from before and after and we’re close to three quarters, if not an acre of additional green space.”
Bell-Metereau said that although sections of Bobcat Trail contain small trees and shrubs, she feels there are not enough plants that contribute to the well-being of the environment.
“A lot of the green that is there is not very ecologically beneficial,” Bell-Metereau said.
Even though construction is almost complete and not much can be done, students still have a chance at making an impact on what is included on Bobcat Trail, she said. This request would be to replace what already has been planted.
Bell-Metereau feels replacing the grass there would be the best option, given that it does not contribute to the overall health of the environment.
“I think that the students could request that the grass there gets replaced with some native plantings,” Bell-Metereau said.
Petty said he agrees that students can influence construction on campus. Students could participate in the update of the campus master plan by sharing feedback on what they want built on campus.
“Students can have input into the campus master plan,” Petty said.
Bell-Metereau said she and her colleagues hope to be a part of the planning process for future construction projects outlined in the university’s master plan and will be attending meetings.
“I’m hoping that we can come to more of an agreement that’s in line with what environmentalists recommend,” she said.
Bell-Metereau said that while she was outspoken about the lack of green space on Bobcat Trail, the construction was not all bad.
“I will say that it’s nice that they turned it into an area where there’s no buses and cars and things like that, but I think it could use some improvement,” Bell-Metereau said.
According to the campus construction website, Bobcat Trail is one of many projects under construction and a number of projects are being planned, totaling up to $750 million.
Students and faculty who have complaints about any aspect of campus construction can have their voices heard at a number of public meetings being held by the master plan planning committee.
Nancy Nusbaum, associate vice president for finance and support services planning and project leader for the campus master plan, would not comment on Bobcat Trail. However, she has been attending forums to discuss the master plan with her colleagues on the team.
Forums about the campus master plan are open to students and faculty and are a great opportunity to voice concerns or make suggestions concerning the master plan.