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Hawkins Hall Pond Fix-Up Picks Up, Completion Set for Summer's End

Work on Hawkins Hall Pond has resumed after a winter hiatus that left folks asking when the fence would be down and the beauty of the area restored.

The answer, according to Rick Larche, capital project manager at SUNY Plattsburgh, is by the start of the fall 2015 semester. 

“Crews have remobilized back to the site and are going to be relocating the fencing on the Hudson Hall side,” Larche said. While construction was halted, an alleyway was constructed between Hudson and the fencing so pedestrians could pass by without having to walk around the site. That will be removed.

“They have to get that fence out of the way, but by doing that, they will limit access to the Hudson doors closest to the pond area,” he said. Signage will be erected to warn people who may try to exit Hudson from the first-floor doors on the north side of the building.

Emergency Exits from Hudson

“Anyone who exits those doors will find themselves within the fenced-in construction zone.” The doors will be operational in case of an emergency, however.

Larche said the pond construction project is entering a more “visible stage, where people will begin to see materials arriving for the actual pond itself — the liner, rocks and other landscaping. It is going to look totally different.”

Once the crew has installed a liner, which will be flashed into the ground along the shoreline, rocks from the Champlain Valley will secure the liner and help keep it protected.

“They will serve as natural benches so people can sit on them at the water’s edge,” he said. The pond will be embellished with a waterfall, natural granite-veneered walls near the handicapped entrance to Ward Hall and the Hawkins Hall patio area.

“It’s going to be phenomenal,” Larche said. “The waterfall feature will formulate into three pools, with two cascading into one and the three will flow into the main pond.” The entire pond will have a new pump and filtration system, making it easier to perform necessary maintenance without necessarily draining the pond, Larche said. Unlike the old pond, the new pond will not necessarily have to be drained for the winter.

Opportunities for Learning

One of the benefits of the project was the opportunities for learning.

“When we were in the planning stages, we said, ‘Let’s build it so that it’s a teaching pond for environmental science students,’” Larche said. A wetland area along Beekman Street will be used by students to identify plants and rocks indigenous to the Champlain Valley. Dr. Rachel Schultz, assistant professor of environmental science, is making sure the proper plants and vegetation are used, and Dr. David Franzi, SUNY distinguished teaching professor of geology, assisted in rock selection.

“We’ll see landscape and site lighting work about mid-July,” Larche said. In addition to the natural rock ledge that will be installed around the pond, gardens will be spaced along that area as well. Benches for seating will also be placed around the area. Any memorials, such as the 9/11 memorial that previously sat at the south end between the pond and Hudson Annex, will be replaced.

“Our goal is to be complete by the start of the 2015-2016 school year,” Larche said. 

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