Whittier College gets a make-over

Whittier College gets a make-over

Anthony Correa
For the QC

Last week, Whittier College was presented with a landscape project near the west side of the Science and Learning Center (SLC) and Diehl Hall. Students could see piles of dirt that a dog would have a field day in. Specifically, on Wednesday, Feb. 7, grounds workers were seen unloading plants that would fill in the uprooted land. To top it all off, the fountain in front of the SLC disappeared. All these landscaping changes happening at the same time caught the attention of students who frequently walk past these areas.

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 “We had a landscape master plan done … five years ago, six. And so, we have been taking steps to try to implement that plan,” said Vice President for Finance and Administration James Dunkelman. “[W]e try and do a project each year towards that progression.” As this is the grand plan, what the College has done is ahead of schedule. “[T]hat project in the lawn … on the west side of Diehl [Hall], was a project we were going to do during the summer of this calendar year. But since we were doing that area by the new ramp that we just installed, we decided to do the Diehl lawn at the same time,” said Dunkelman.

 While the renovations aim to change the layout of the land, they also serve the purpose of adapting the campus to the drought-ridden environment of California. President and CEO of Sequoia Landscaping Danny McNamara is in charge of the project. McNamara says the plants being placed — such as Manzenita, Pacific Mist, Westringia, Lantana Purple and Gold, and Deer Grass — are all drought tolerant. All these plants will help make the campus more drought-friendly. 

Dunkelman explained that the landscape master plan consists of two themes. “One is to create a more cohesive campus identity between different kinds of space . . . and then, in addition to that, changing out landscaping where it makes sense to lower water use material.” As these projects show, the College is going along with this plan. According to McNamara, the next landscape area to change is along the Campus Center and across the front of the College, parallel to Painter Avenue. Of course, this is subject to change if there are more necessary matters to deal with.

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In relation to the fountain in front of the SLC, Dunkelman explains that the fountain was removed entirely. “It’s difficult to run constantly, and it just takes a lot of labor and maintenance. It recylcles water, so it’s not like it’s running all that water into a sanitary sewer. It’s just not practical to run,” said McNamara. The intention of this plan is to convert the College’s campus into a drought-friendly environment, so it would only make sense to remove the fountain. With the removal of the fountain, McNamara said. “We are creating a succulent garden where the fountain was. Agave, aloe, Echeveria, Aeonium, Senecio and Kalanchoe are among some of the plants we will be using.” Installment of this garden will take place sometime during this week.

 With the purchase of new plants, and removal costs of the fountain and grass, the total price for this landscaping project came out to approximately $48,650, as reported by Dunkelman. This investment in the landscape of the College will probably not be noticeable in the beginning, but over time we will all see the effects of the efforts put forth by the College and Sequoia Landscaping. 

All landscaping changes made are necessary steps to reach the end goal of turning the College into a drought-friendly campus, completing the landscaping master plan.