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Saturday, November 01, 2014
South Walk
 
South Walk
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The Illustrative Campus Plan and the Concept drawings show an east-west walkway ranging from the new library site to the College Road at the rear of Penhurst. This proposed walk lies to the south of Venable Hall and the Middlecourt and a proposed new landscaped parking lot on the present site of the physical plant operations buildings.

Although apparently a minor element in the grander vision of the overall plan, this walkway is viewed as the frontier to the College's future. The plan has identified two potential building sites to be developed in the long term (a campus plan or two hence): one near the former site of McIlwaine Hall, which burned in 1957, amid the Lawns; and the second on College Road, requiring the acquisition of a single residential structure and lot. Given the limited number of alternative sites for long-term development (well beyond the scope of this campus plan cycle) and given the centering of the College's academic facilities around the Via Sacra, it reasonably follows that growth of core facilities in the coming century is likely to extend the core precinct of the College southward. The open fields and proposed parking lot for this area can be felicitously adapted to a pattern of lawns and buildings, in keeping with the established pattern of the core to the north of Via Sacra. Thus, South Walk, as it is termed here for convenience, becomes the landscape link to the College's future development.

In the approaching decade, the South Walk will form the threshold to the core campus. Its purpose is at once to clearly define an edge to a sacred precinct, as well as to help those arriving by car and parking in the large lot to make a pleasant transition to pedestrian status. A simple, but grand and elegant, landscape is envisioned: a broad walkway, possibly brick paved, that is arrow-straight and lined on both sides with well-spaced hardwood trees that will take several generations to mature. Along the walkway, benches will be placed at intervals, serving as places to linger or to wait for one's companions.