Pedestrian Plaza Perks Up Macon State College Campus
Photos By Bruce Radcliffe
Helen Hughes, a Macon State College junior who returned to
finish her degree after a seven - year absence, can't believe how
the campus has changed.
"They've made it so beautiful," said Hughes, as she relaxed on a
black - iron bench on the west end of campus. "I usually stop
here on Tuesdays and Thursdays and get a break before my next class
and look over my notes and stuff. I try to sit here and get a
MSC students stroll along a portion of the new pedestrian
walkway, which features improved lighting and a reflecting
Hughes is enthusiastic about the new pedestrian plaza, which
sweeps along the east - to - west axis of the campus from the
Administration Building and the Library, past the original Natural
Sciences and Math Building and the Learning Support Building to the
front of the new Charles H. Jones Building, which was formally
dedicated in March and will open this summer. It provides an
idyllic setting for Macon State College students and staff to enjoy
the spring weather.
"I like watching people go by," Hughes said.
An idea conceived by MSC Foundation Chairman Dr. Waddell Barnes,
the pedestrian plaza is considered part of the campuswide Waddell
Barnes Botanical Gardens project, named in his honor in April 2003.
With the completion of the pedestrian plaza, Barnes' vision for
the beautification of MSC will be about 30 percent realized, said
MSC President David A. Bell.
"Dr. Barnes deserves so much credit," Bell said. "He's an
extraordinarily knowledgeable individual. He has so much
talent and has led the development of the botanical gardens, which
has attracted a lot of private funding from various donors.
Dr. Barnes is the master of the master planners and his devotion to
MSC is unselfish."
Macon State students are certainly noticing the changes. A
unique, rectangular fountain and reflecting pool near the Library
got the attention of sophomore Allen Wilson, a business major.
"It's a good place to sit," he said. "People come flooding
out (after their classes) and they'll sit there and mingle around
the fountain. It's a social gathering spot."
The pedestrian plaza and botanical gardens are part of Macon
State's master plan for the development of infrastructure that
embraces the campus environment and academic mission of the College.
"We conducted an analysis of this campus - in terms of potential
growth - and developed a master plan in conjunction with Robert &
Company (architects and planners)," Bell said. "The Board of
Regents approved it, and we are implementing it. The plan
involves first - rate facilities like the Charles H. Jones Building,
botanical gardens on campus and the pedestrian plaza. All of
these projects for the east - west spine of the campus were planned
almost 10 years ago and were funded in 2001 along with the Jones
Director of Plant Operations David S. Sims oversees the numerous
projects to upgrade and maintain Macon State's grounds and
facilities. The pedestrian plaza includes water features,
improved lighting, seating and landscaping. Sims explained
that each section o the campuswide botanical gardens has a specific
landscaping theme. "Showy Flowers" highlight the fronts of the
Library and the Jones Building. Beginning at the Library's
west entrance and continuing past the Learning Support and original
Natural Sciences and Math Building, "Showy Fruit" plantings lend
life and serenity to the campus scenery. The botanical gardens
continue in the campus parking lots with an "Urban Gardens" theme to
greet MSC commuters.
Here is a closer look at the reflecting pool in front of
the MSC Library's west entrance.
Besides adding beauty to the campus, the botanical gardens will
be "a resource for the region educationally," Sims said. New
plaques are being placed in the gardens with the plants' botanical
names and their common names.
"Faculty, staff and students will really enjoy the brick
walkways, the seating, the improved lighting and the landscaping,"
The goal of all this beautification is not simply aesthetic.
Sims noted that students often consider how a campus looks when
deciding if they want to attend that college. And Macon State
"I think college is a place where you need to concentrate and
study," said Libby Tingen, a history major who earns her associate
degree this spring. "It needs to be as beautiful as possible.
People will want to go here if it's prettier."
Bell said that Macon State is a "beautiful example of how a
public college can work cooperatively with the community and the
Board of Regents. I couldn't be more enthusiastic about the
physical development of MSC. People can relax, study, and know
that we care about them. We have designed the campus of the
Added Hughes, now a regular visitor to that black - iron bench,
"I'll walk over to the Student Life Center and get a salad and bring
it back over here. It helps you relax, brings things together.
Deborah Barnes is a senior communications
major at MSC and news editor for the Matrix student newspaper.
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