University plans for new green space in Quad

Planners are waiting on approval from the city to start construction of a park between Gaines and Graham-Lees

Maria Rachal

Washington and Lee campus planners are waiting on city approval of a green space in the quad between Gaines and Graham-Lees Halls.

The construction, if the plan is approved in the Lexington City Council’s meeting on April 2, will begin in Sum- mer 2015 and be completed by Fall 2015.

University Planner and Architect Tom Contos hopes the park will unify the two dorms.

“In the past, you had to walk down a sloping alley to reach Gaines Hall, and there was no feeling of connection be- tween the two buildings,” Contos said. “To ensure that the two first-year halls were unified, we thought about creating an open green space to link them visu- ally.”

According to Lexington Director of Development and Planning Terry Har- rington, the area between Graham-Lees and Gaines will become more spacious after the Gilliam dorm is torn down this summer. The green space will be framed by Graham-Lees, Gaines and the soon to be renovated Warner Center.

The new park area will serve as a place where first-year students and the entire W&L community can enjoy time out- doors. The university has already con- sulted with a landscape architect to de- sign plantings and paths.

“I live in Gaines right now and I feel like our dorm is really isolated by the current layout of that section of cam- pus,” Sara Jones, ‘18, said. “It would be really nice to be more connected to the Graham-Lees area of campus, and I think the proposed renovations could definite- ly help to unify the first-year class.”

Another goal of the green space is to improve the safety of pedestrians who cross Washington Street, which divides Graham-Lees and Gaines. Working with the city of Lexington, W&L plans to implement a speed table, or a raised stretch of road, as a safer crosswalk for pedestrians as well as a speed-reducer for drivers.

The initial plan for the green space was approved by the Lexington City Council last year but final plans for the project must be approved by the council in April before construction can begin.