Emerald isle

Published: May 2012

As part of a larger plan to expand and unify the green spaces on the middle campus, O’Neill Plaza—the area outlined by Gasson Hall, Devlin Hall, O’Neill Library, and the sunken garden to the south of St. Mary’s Hall—will undergo a thorough renovation over the summer. Starting immediately after Commencement, the brick and concrete paving and planters will be removed. The existing grade of the plaza “floor” will be raised two-and-a-half-feet, to the level of the O’Neill Library entrance (reducing the sets of stairs descending from the Gasson level from four to two and eliminating the steps in front of the library). Ranks of flowering trees and shrubs—tulip trees (Liriodendron tulipifera), Sargent’s cherries (Prunus sargentii), and summersweet (Clethra alnifolia)—will frame a substantial rectangle of lawn some 170 feet by 80 feet. A 16-foot-wide walkway will angle across the lawn from the library toward the quad in front of Lyons Hall. Another path will run straight away from the O’Neill entrance to Linden Lane. Low retaining walls along the Gasson side of the plaza, installed to accomplish the new change of grade, will provide seating, shaded by the new trees. The lawn will accommodate small gatherings as well as traditional assemblies such as the Mass of the Holy Spirit each September. Work will finish before the start of the fall semester.

For views of O’Neill Plaza, before and after, click above.

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This feature was posted on Thursday, May 17, 2012 and is filed under Interactive Features.
Producers: Miles Benson, Brian Snyder. Photographs: Gary Wayne Gilbert. Illustrations: Stephen Stimson Associates Landscape Architects.