North Quad revitalization begins

North Quad
The North Quad revitalization project will remove existing roadways from the heart of the quad and replaces them with an enhanced network of pedestrian walks. Renderings of the project are available here.

Construction on the North Quad revitalization project begins this week, and fences have been set up around the area to protect passers-by.

The project is intended to better weave the iconic quad into daily activity on a growing campus. Potter Square, the area south of the 1899 Bar & Grill, will be integrated into the area for student and visitor use.

Before and after photos as well as a project overview are available here.

“We are trying to prepare this campus for 25,000 students by the year 2020,” President John Haeger said during a campus-wide forum in early July. “We must create a sustainable campus—not just now but for 10 years from now and beyond.”

Makeover provides opportunity for return to traditions

Northern Arizona University graduates from the 1960s, ‘70s and ‘80s may remember gathering in the North Quad of the Flagstaff campus for a variety of events.

The space offered a first look at campus life—not just for visitors, but also for new students at orientation and freshmen who attended lively skits performed by then dean of students Joe Rolle and “Mr. Lumberjack” Lewis McDonald.

The removal of traffic within McMullen Circle and expansion of green space in NAU’s historic district means that university and community events once again will find their home amid Old Main, Blome and the North Union.

Set for completion this fall, the North Quad will be ready to host new student orientation, Homecoming and festivities tied to Welcome Back Week in 2012, restoring the site as an ideal venue for upholding university traditions.

Joe Rolle
Joe Rolle, dean of students, sports a Chain Gang sweater as he performs a skit for freshmen in the North Quad of the Flagstaff campus in 1983. Lewis McDonald, known to many as Mr. Lumberjack, engages with students in the background.

The quad project will eliminate roadways while bringing the area into fire and life/safety code compliance. Features will include dark sky-compliant lighting; decorative ADA-compliant multi-purpose pathways that also provide emergency access; a small amphitheater for informal gatherings, classes, seminars and performances; and revitalized landscaping that will preserve most of the existing and healthy mature trees while incorporating new trees and other elements.

Input from two forums as well as a half-dozen walking tours provided designers with the opportunity to realign the fire lane and preserve additional trees, including a cluster of locusts near Taylor Hall that some have dubbed “the Sisters.”

All the designated memorial and historic trees will remain, including the McCormick Rose and the Washington Elm, which already is receiving care to extend its life. New shrubs, plants and trees will be planted, including hardy varieties in varying trunk diameter and tree heights to integrate into the existing canopy.

Once completed this fall, the North Quad will be home to about 150 trees, showcasing a healthy mix of evergreen and deciduous varieties. The changes to the North Quad are part of the university’s 2010 master plan, which was developed through wide campus participation and input.