A new type of activity is taking place in the quad between Sprague Library and Life Hall this Fall; construction workers and their big, yellow vehicles have taken over the place where students once congregated and brown dirt has replaced the green grass and trees which formerly populated the popular campus hangout, a change which many students are not happy about.
This change in scenery is part of a larger construction plan to renovate both Life and Morehead Halls to create a new home for the School of Communication and Media and a new quad that stretches from Richardson Hall down to College Hall.
Vice President for Student Development and Campus Life Dr. Karen Pennington assures students that the loss of green is only temporary. Construction includes creating a verdant outdoor space where students can interact with one another and take in the foliage, including new trees that will replace the ones cut down in order for construction to occur.
Despite the promise of a green future, students are nevertheless upset about the construction and especially the loss of trees in this area of campus.
Senior Television and Digital Media major Silas Kezengwa sees this area of campus every time he comes to Montclair, since he works at the university radio station WMSC, located in Schmitt Hall. “I hate to see any [trees] cut down, but if it has to be done to aid in construction and will be replanted, I think that’s a fair compromise,” Kezengwa says.
Other students who frequent this area, however, do not believe that replanting the trees at a later time will be suitable retribution for the current state of the quad. Theresa Adachi, a senior Mathematics major who works at Sprague Library, said, “The tree was beautiful. If they replant another one, it’s not going to be the same as the one before…. To them it’s just a tree that can be replanted, but I really love the view of that tree.”
Adachi also said that she would prefer construction plans to go toward currently-existing buildings, like Stone and Webster Halls, which need to be renovated, rather than new construction projects.
Amara Higgins, a senior Economics and Finance major, shares a similar view. When asked about her opinion of clearing trees to make way for construction, she said, “I don’t get the point of destroying something really valuable on campus to make way for something we really don’t need.”
All three students were happy that the uprooted trees were going to be replaced, but senior Chemistry major Miranda Torres was particularly concerned with what kind of trees would be put in place of the ones removed. “I prefer the older, more majestic trees,” she said after questioning what type of plant life would surface when construction finished. “It adds something more than if they’re just going to add those little cheapy that you see when they normally take down trees. I don’t appreciate [those] as much as the older trees.”
For more information about the plans for this area of construction, check out our full coverage here.