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Hawkins Pond Given a 'Welcome Back' Party

The newly renovated Hawkins Pond on the SUNY Plattsburgh campus was officially dedicated during a ribbon-cutting ceremony Saturday afternoon under bright, sunny skies and gracefully circling doves.

The ceremony began just after 1:30 p.m. with SUNY Plattsburgh President John Ettling welcoming the more than 75 guests, some of whom were on campus for Family Weekend.  Ettling thanked the many contractors, designers, faculty and staff involved in the project, which at first was not going to include the aesthetics but just the below-ground repairs. He then introduced guest speakers that included City of Plattsburgh Mayor James Calnon, who thanked the college for “bringing the pond back” to the people of the region, and state Assemblywoman Janet Duprey, who spoke fondly of her memories at the Hawkins Hall pond. 

The pond and surrounding area had been offline for more than a year while work crews completely replaced the pond bedding and lining and installed rocks from the Champlain Valley along the shoreline to create natural seating. The pond was then embellished with a waterfall, which formulated into three ponds — two cascading into one that then flows into the main body of water.

The pond has a new pump and filtration system, making it easier to perform maintenance and cleaning without necessarily having to drain the water, according to Rick Larche, capital project manager who was on hand at Saturday’s ceremony.

Dr. David Franzi, SUNY distinguished teaching professor in the Center for Earth and Environmental Science, discussed the history and thought behind the landscaping and use and placement of the rocks and boulders, and he explained the new outdoor learning lab area of the pond that will be used by environmental science majors — a wetland area that students will use to identify plants and flora indigenous to the Champlain Valley.

New seating areas surround the grounds, and memorial benches that had previously been located at the pond in prior to its renovation were returned with new memorial plates attached.

As Ettling cut the ribbon to officially re-open the pond and its environs, several white doves were released into the air, circled overhead several times and returned to their perch. 

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