Monday August 9, 2010

A Mall with a View

As students return to the University of Dayton for fall classes, they will find a green oasis in the center of campus.

The University of Dayton has just completed a $3 million upgrade to the open space between Kennedy Union and Marycrest residence hall.

Improvements to the central mall include a terraced amphitheater and overlook built into the hill in front of Marycrest, on the former site of the Mechanical Engineering building. Low seat walls and benches border the lawn and more than 100 new trees have been planted, with more to come. Four new pedestrian paths provide safe, direct and attractive routes to the rest of campus and will accommodate service and emergency vehicles as well as private vehicles on move-in days.

"Before the renovation, the mall was just an open space that resulted from removing tennis courts, but now it is intentionally designed for the purpose that it serves," said Beth Keyes, assistant vice president for facilities. "It is a very sculptured space, with two plateaus specifically designed for tents and planned events. And the lookout from Marycrest offers an amazing view that should create a memorable experience."

The plaza on the southeast end of Kennedy Union was also redesigned to better accommodate outdoor dining, casual gathering and organized campus activities and improve handicap accessibility. A fountain will also be installed in the plaza later this fall.

Water quality basins have also been added on the south side of the mall near Founders Hall, designed to function as a sustainable and ecological system for storm drainage.

The central mall project includes a second phase awaiting approval that would convert the parking lot between Founders and O'Reilly halls into open green space. The change is expected to decrease vehicle traffic in the area, which is heavily used by pedestrians.

For more information, contact Meagan Pant, assistant director of media relations, at 937-229-3256 or mpant1@udayton.edu.