A Transformational Space

Plans were recently unveiled at Simpson College that show how the campus will look after a $2 million project that will change what is now C Street, a one way street running through campus, into a pedestrian plaza.

The goal for this exciting project is to unify and beautify the campus and make it safer for students. It will also be a space that can be used by the entire Indianola community for events, gatherings or as an extension of beautiful Buxton Park that borders the north side of campus.

“While this isn’t the most expensive project Simpson has undertaken in the last few years, it may very well be the most transformational for the campus,” said Ken Birkenholtz, vice president for business and finance.

Since the opening of the Kent Campus Center in the fall of 2012, and the opening of the Steven Johnson Fitness Center in January, pedestrian traffic between the west side and the east side of campus has increased significantly. Closing the street to through traffic will be a significant step in protecting students who make that trip multiple times per day and will make it easier for them to get where they are going.

Plans call for the current pavement to be removed and replaced with new concrete and decorative bands of brick pavers, similar to what is found elsewhere on campus. Decorative and environmental landscaping will be added along with built-in and moveable seating.

The focal point of the project will be an iconic piece of art that will stand near the middle of campus. The steel structure will represent the maple trees that adorn campus and bring to life a line from Simpson’s alma mater, “…beneath the whispering maples…”

“We didn’t want it to look like a street anymore,” Birkenholtz said. “We wanted it to become part of campus so that both sides would flow together and become one space.”

Weather permitting, construction could begin as early as April with the bulk of the project completed by late August.

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