Campus beautification plan headed in the right direction


Editorial Board

Issue: The Campus Planning and Design Committee is developing and presenting several ideas to beautify campus.

At a time when SDSU is expanding, it’s great to see there is still a focus on the aesthetics of campus coming from the Campus Planning and Design Committee, which has a plan in the works to beautify campus.

The committee’s plans include a major pedestrian walkway, an outdoor amphitheater, a grand entrance to campus, campus map locations, a new Arts and Sciences building where Sexauer Field is located, concrete seating arranged in ovals with landscaping in the center and statues of campus icons such as a jackrabbit, Weary Wil, Dirty Lil and several miniature Campaniles-all while keeping green space for students.

We are pleased with many aspects of the plan.

A main entrance for campus is definitely needed. Coming onto South Dakota’s largest university, one would expect to see grand signage, not a McDonald’s. Creating a main entrance makes coming onto campus for the first time a great and memorable experience.

Statues and signature monuments are also something SDSU needs. Statues would join the Campanile as recognizable icons, and having smaller monuments for picture-taking and admiring is a great idea.

It almost goes without saying that a new Arts and Sciences building is a long-awaited upgrade to Scobey Hall.

We also think that this redesigning of sidewalks and landscaping is a good opportunity to evaluate green space on campus. Obviously, open areas of grass are important; however, the committee should evaluate what green space is truly used by students and what green space just exists for the sake of being green space. Jackrabbit Green-the open, grassy areas between the Union, the Wellness Center, and the library-is a prime example of open green space that really isn’t used by students. Trees could be planted in this area to provide a much more visually pleasing area of campus.

One item of the committee’s plan that makes us skeptical is the amphitheater. In South Dakota, where winters take up most of the year, we question whether the university would be able to use an outdoor theater enough throughout the year. That said, we are not completely against the idea of an amphitheater. With the short window of possible use due to weather, the committee should poll students on whether or not they think an amphitheater is the best idea or not.

Something we really appreciate is the committee going to the Student Union Activity Council and the all-faculty meeting for input, providing a dialogue for constructive criticism and positive feedback.

Overall we are very pleased with the planning process and the ideas being proposed.

Stance: The Campus Planning and Design Committee is doing a great job of planning and seeking feedback for the future of campus. We have a few reservations but are happy with the progress being made.