The recent construction near the science building has been underway for several weeks now, and the finished project promises a new and exciting addition to Northwestern’s campus. The plaza will be an outdoor multipurpose space that can be used by all students. It will include some grassy areas surrounded by connecting concrete, lots of planters and flower beds and short seating walls. There will be lots of seating options and possibilities for using the space.
Science classes will be able to host their class sessions outside to enjoy being outdoors and also use the plants around the plaza for their projects. Professor of biology, Dr. Laurie Furlong helped pick out specific plants for the area in hopes that her classes will be able to study them.
Because the plaza will have electricity, lighting and wi-fi, students will be able to study there any time, work on group projects, charge their phones and laptops and hang out. The college also plans on using the space for different events, like after commencement when graduates get together with their family and friends to take pictures.
Vice president for financial affairs, Doug Beukelman, who is helping with coordination between the college and the architects of the project, is excited to see the different ways the space will be used. He also points out that there are many areas around campus for smaller groups to gather, but this will be a bigger meeting option where students can still be in smaller groups or larger ones.
“This is a space that’s going to make you stop and spend time there,” Beukelman said. There’s so much grass on campus, and this is a way to use the grass, ramp it up a notch, make it more inviting and turn it into a fun place where students can spend time together.
Senior Kaylee Henn, studying English and secondary education, is also stoked about the idea of the plaza.
“I feel like this is a great use of space because so many students already study outside – it’ll be nice to have a designated spot,” she said. “If I wasn’t graduating next semester, I would write all my papers out there.”
Designs for the plaza have always been part of the plan for the new science center, but because construction got delayed last fall and the plaza piece of the project involved a lot of concrete work, it was pushed back until this year. The crew hopes to have their work completed by the end of October, so soon students can begin filling the space with studying, relaxing and good conversations.