Breaking: Old Main lawn is saved! | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Breaking: Old Main lawn is saved!

Posted By on Thu, Jun 9, 2011 at 8:47 AM

Well, sort of, maybe.

I've reported here about opposition to a University of Arkansas plan to temporarily cut a road across the lawn of Old Main, the historic center of the UA campus, for access to a variety of construction projects.

Chancellor David Gearhart has heard the cries. A new plan is expected to be announced later today intended to cause somewhat less disruption to what one preservationist has called "sacred ground." An alternative under consideration still calls for a temporary road on the east lawn, but with more restricted access.

UPDATE: Here's the official news release on the plan.

His earlier note on the alternative follows:

Folks:

Later today we plan to announce a new alternative to the temporary construction access route we had initially planned to establish on a section of East Lawn in front of Old Main.

Under this alternative plan, heavy trucks and related construction traffic would enter the university’s East Lawn along Dickson Street, opposite the new nanoscience building.

As with the initial proposal, the temporary road on East Lawn would allow for two-way construction traffic under the new alternative. Traffic would become one-way prior to crossing Campus Drive, currently a pedestrian walkway, and would turn northward and pass in a one-way pattern between Vol Walker Hall and Mullins Library before passing between the Home Economics and Agriculture buildings. Construction traffic will exit onto Maple Street and will be restricted to right-turns only.

This alternative would eliminate the previously planned route that would have allowed construction traffic access to East Lawn from Arkansas Avenue, opposite Lafayette Street. It reflects our reconsideration of elements we previously felt were not doable, but now believe we can make work.

When planning the improvements to Ozark and Vol Walker halls, our primary concern was to maintain pedestrian and worker safety while protecting, to the greatest extent possible, the trees, sidewalks, and character of East Lawn. Given the two buildings’ confined locations, we sought what we thought would be the most practical and acceptable approaches. However, after further discussion and public input, we now believe this new alternative better satisfies those multiple considerations.

We will be issuing a news release announcing this alternative mid-afternoon. For now, I am refraining from referring to this as anything but an alternative, one under review. I want to avoid making a firm commitment until we are confident we have adequately considered all reasonable possibilities.

Please let me Don Pederson or Mike Johnson know should you have any questions.

Many thanks for your input as we try to find the best solution for all concerned.

Dave

G. David Gearhart

Chancellor

University of Arkansas

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