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New Ward Parkway Campus Lawn Brings Community Together
Andrew Mouzin

On August 19, crews from Blue Cedar Landscape converged on the newly-leveled portion of the Ward Parkway quadrangle to lay sod for the new lawn. Machines glided across the ground, laying the fresh green grass, while workers pulled the sod strips together, tamping them down and connecting the strips to make one seamless lawn.

Chief financial officer James Miller said there had been many conversations about the impact of transforming the multilevel quadrangle into a central, integrated part of campus. "The intent was to eliminate the barriers that separate our community, from the large retaining wall adjacent to Hall Student Center to the different elevations in the Quad that made it feel separated," he said. "The belief has been that if we created a central lawn, it would draw people together - both during the school day as well as for evening activities and events."

Professionals from Gould Evans, McCownGordon and SK Design worked with the buildings and grounds committee of the Building Together campaign and a small design group to consolidate the concepts. Additionally, Tara Armjstead, a landscape architect working with the Landscape Task Group, which included friends of the school, helped further develop the plan.

James said even without plants and trees, the space is "coming to life," and pulling the campus buildings together in a cohesive manner. Additional landscaping that will be added later in the fall, James said, will further enhance what has already been a significant transformation.

Middle school principal Brian Bartelli said there was a lot of excitement in the middle school watching the new grass being laid, “Our teachers and students can't wait to use this new space to gather and play.  It is the first visual of several amazing transitions to occur over the next year.”

Upper school instructors have already had discussions about their plans to hold class meetings on the new lawn, upper school principal Mike Hill shared. "Our students and faculty are excited about the new lawn. Each day, more and more students can be found relaxing on the steps or sitting on the benches which outline the new lawn. It’s sure to become a popular gathering space on campus."

James reflected on the years the project has been in the making, "Great thought has gone into the process: drawing, reviewing, revising and redrawing in the pursuit to maximize the space's full potential."