Redesign of Campus Entrance Underway

By Mark Sullivan
Staff Writer

A major beautification project that will bring trees and flowering plants to the heavily-traveled St. Ignatius Gate on Lower Campus began Tuesday, and will force parking restrictions in the area through the summer.

Landscaping work began the day after Commencement, and all parking will be banned in the St. Ignatius lot from June 1 through the expected completion of the project in early September, with exceptions made for Saturday and Sunday Masses at St. Ignatius Church. The roadway through Lower Campus will remain open for the duration of the project.

Click here for an illustration of the redesigned St. Ignatius Gate
Buildings and Grounds Associate Director Thomas Hurley said the landscaping project will put a much prettier face on the section of campus most visitors see first.

"I'm very excited," Hurley said. "It's something that has been needed for many years around there. It will give a sculpted look to the Lower Campus area, with trees and plantings. Visually, it's going to be much more appealing to people coming on campus."

The bulk of motorists who visit campus enter through the gate by St. Ignatius Church, as do visitors on foot. Currently, the area is marked by little more than blacktop.

But come fall, visitors will be greeted by a line of trees, wrought-iron fencing and two stone walls bearing the name of the University. "It will give a stamp of Boston College that the entrance didn't have before," Hurley said.

Hurley said the guard booth currently at the gate will be moved some 30 feet toward campus, with the entry reconfigured to allow more direct access to More Drive. Stone piers similar to those outside the Merkert Chemistry Center will anchor the wrought-iron fence at the gate, and a line of zelkova and maple trees will be planted from More Drive to the Lower Campus Dining Hall.

Hurley said the plaza in front of the dining hall also will receive a facelift, with the planting of flowering trees and the addition of "seat walls" and cafe tables designed to make the area more student-friendly. A kiosk will also be installed that will offer newspapers and coffee, as well as a campus directional map and a board for posting messages.

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