An unCommons Addition

Phase 3 of OWU’s JAYwalk Renewal to Add Outdoor ‘Playroom’
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Ohio Wesleyan’s new Commons area will add an inviting green activity space to the JAYwalk. It is made possible through generous gift commitments from members of the Class of 1963 in honor of their 50th Reunion. Work on the 1963 Commons is scheduled to be completed by May 2013. (Rendering by The Collaborative)

Maybe we should call it the JAYstride. Or the JAYadvance. So much about Ohio Wesleyan’s signature JAYwalk signals positive forward movement that we’re doing much more than just walking.

From expanding the JAYwalk in Phase 1 to create an attractive “front door,” to adding a “formal living room” with an eye-catching fountain in Phase 2, to creating an inviting “playroom” in Phase 3 – the JAYwalk continues to grow as a destination location for the entire campus community.

Phase 3, scheduled to begin this month, will add the 1963 Commons – a basketball-court-sized lawn west of Beeghly Library, providing an attractive outdoor activity space in the center of campus. Existing seating in the area will be replaced and enhanced with movable benches, tables, and Adirondack chairs.

The carefully planned project also will preserve the two mature Linden trees and – in consultation with botany/microbiology professor David Johnson, who oversees the campus’ Jane Decker Arboretum – remove two diseased trees and a few smaller trees crowded too closely together to truly thrive. All of the trees will be replaced at a ratio of at least 2 to 1 in Phase 4 of the JAYwalk renewal, using desirable plants that add to the arboretum’s inventory of species.

OWU emeritus professor “Ebb” Haycock’s iconic bronze sculpture, “Oracle,” also will be relocated during the Phase 3 renewal. The sculpture will be moved to the northwest corner of Beeghly Library, and Haycock has been collaborating with Building and Grounds staff to plan the transition to ensure its success.

Phase 3 is scheduled to be completed by May 2013 in time for Alumni Weekend and the Class of 1963’s 50th reunion. Additional work during the same period to enhance the Hamilton-Williams Campus Center Food Court will add new seating along the outdoor terrace, further enhancing the European town square feeling that has begun to permeate the area.

Over time, Phase 4 will accommodate walking paths, quiet seating areas, pergolas, and other areas that invite people to relax and reflect after they enjoy spending time in the living room and playroom. For this phase, and in consultation with his family, the tree planted in memory of 2011 alumnus Aaron Riley will be relocated to ensure its long-term viability and prominence.

“The JAYwalk renewal project is enhancing the quality of the residential experience for our students and employees,” President Rock Jones said. “It is an honor that our alumni have been so involved in helping to make the project a reality.

“The 1963 Commons will continue to add to the legacy of this alumni involvement and pride,” Jones concluded. “It is a living, growing testament to the affinity our graduates have for their ‘home away from home’ at Ohio Wesleyan.”

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