For Immediate Release
The Southwest Landscape and Turgrass Management class answered the call from New Pathways to develop a landscape design for beautifying an area around Methodist Hospital at I-240 and Waldron that contained both unattractive and undesirable elements. "New Pathways, Inc. promotes an innovative model of holistic community development that suggests nonprofits, congregations, businesses, and educational institutions can be the driving force for community rebirth while keeping the needs of existing residents as the highest priority." (http://newpathwaysinc.com)
Dr. Carol Tosh, vice president of Student Services and Enrollment Management at Southwest, offered the landscape students’ services as a project to beautify this section of the New Pathways area where literally thousands of people live, work, and come as patients and visitors to Methodist Hospital.
The site is currently overgrown with weeds, trees and broken concrete sidewalks. “We’ve got a unique spot to the west of Methodist’s campus near Waldron and 240 that is city and state property, and is truly an eyesore, and a perceived and real safety hazard,” stated Dr. Victor Perini, vice president of Operations at Methodist University Hospital and treasurer and immediate past chairman of the Board of Directors for New Pathways. “We asked the students to come up with recommendations on how we can make that a more attractive environment that can be self sustaining and would be more appealing to all those thousands of people that travel through there everyday. That was the objective of the project,” added Dr. Perini.
Two groups of students presented their project designs to representatives from Methodist Hospital and Looney Ricks Kiss Architects, Inc. on October 24 at Southwest's Macon Cove Campus. The designs encompassed ornamental trees, shrubs, wrought iron fencing, and winding lighted walking paths. “We really just wanted to help beautify the area and get rid of the riff-raff that’s there. It was a real honor to help contribute to the community like we did,” stated Southwest student designer Ben Hutzel. “We wanted to open it up and eliminate a place for loitering and make it safe for the people that live in the apartments and work at or use the hospital on a daily basis, said Michael Jurguns, another student designer.
Project design submitted by Kyle Newman, Chase Hansen, Michael Jurgens, Norma Montesi, and Ben Hutzel. (Click on the image for a full resolution version) The students are first-term students attending the evening class, all with full-time jobs and little time to work together as a group. “We put this together in three weeks. It was a fast track because we meet once a week and some also met outside of class time. With everyone working full time outside of class, it was tough for them to do and I am real pleased with what they have done. I am also pleased with the selections and the plant choices they have made,” said Southwest’s adjunct instructor Russell A. Adsit, who is also a professional landscape architect.
The viewing panel for the project included Looney Ricks Kiss Architects Steve Auterman and Scott Henninger. They wanted to ensure that the students’ designs blended with the landscape scheme for the rest of the hospital. Auterman felt that the students’ plans followed the ground’s consistency. “I think it is wonderful to see what the students have done. They have given some really good thought about a Midtown area that would be otherwise neglected. It does help tie into the work we’ve done with Methodist in improving their campus and their environment. This helps further those goals and really begins to implement the improvements they wanted to see happen in their neighborhood.”
“The next step is to put some backbone and dollars into the project," said Adsit.
Cutline: Design team Ben Hutzel and Norma Montesi present their landscape project.
Cutline: Michael Jurgens, Chase Hansen, and Kyle Newman give details of their landscape design.