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Campus Mall Expected to Re-Open in May  
Kyle Lahman
Staff Writer

Those clamoring for a pick-up game of ultimate or a sunny Mall study session will have to wait untilmid-May. After undergoing landscaping treatment this summer, the Mall is expected to be closed until graduation.
According to Jack Gochenaur, a main organizer of the Mall project and Manchester’s vice president for Financial Affairs, the grass on the north end needed to be replaced after construction on the new Academic Center. To create a consistent look, the university also elected to replant the grass on the south end of the Mall. Local business Scott’s Landscape Services is in charge of the project and will ultimately determine when normal Mall activity can resume.

Many students have wondered why they cannot set foot on the Mall; after all, the grass already looks thick and green. According to Gochenaur, the grass that currently covers the Mall is a perennial rye grass. This special rye grass was planted as a cover to protect the finer bluegrass that is blossoming underneath. “Eventually, that bluegrass will choke out the perennial rye, and that’s what really gives you a beautiful lawn,” Gochenaur said.

Once the bluegrass is fully grown, Gochenaur expects it to be an improvement over the old lawn. While the old grass repeatedly got patchy under the demands of campus life, the bluegrass is expected to be more durable and capable of sustaining student walking and campus activities. The consistent, bold look offered by the bluegrass will also be visually appealing.  “The Mall creates a first impression with visitors,” Gochenaur said.  “It is an internal, spectacular feature that will be a focus of activity.”

Students’ reactions to the roped-off Mall have been mixed. “To see the lawn not occupied on a day-to-day basis is almost painful,” said first-year Ryan Hawkins. “I feel confined to my room and the library to study. It would be a really nice change of pace to be able sit out on the lawn to study, read, and just enjoy campus life in general.” Sophomore Phil Truitt had a different perspective. “Not having shortcuts creates longer walks and bigger crowds on the sidewalks,” he said. “The Mall being closed affects my routes to classes and the Union because I'm one to take shortcuts.”

Students complaining about the roped-off Mall should know that they are receiving the same treatment as students at Harvard University. During a recent trip to Harvard, Gochenaur noticed that the main square of the campus was roped off.  “When I went into the inner courtyard, they had stakes all over the campus on the inside where they had planted grass for the spring,” Gochenaur said. “If Harvard University can block off areas so that grass can grow, so can Manchester University, right?” he added with a laugh.

Gochenaur wanted to emphasize how much he appreciates the students’ respectfulness of the newgrass. “It would be a battle for us to keep up if the students kept walking on it,” he said

Look for the Frisbee, napping and studying to resume shortly before “Pomp and Circumstance” ushers out the Class of 2013.


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