By Brian Harris, Staff Writer
On October 18, 2017, UMass Dartmouth celebrated the completion of the campus quad with “S’mores on the Quad.”
The fences surrounding the center of campus have been an iconic image for our beloved school. In a way, the mess of dirt and machines became our own sort of-quad, its sight inherently familiar to anyone with a class at UMassD. Now that it’s finally done, just about everyone should be celebrating, including Assistant Vice Chancellor for Master Planning and Capital Projects, Michael Hayes.
Like all of us, Hayes is “Relieved and extremely excited that after almost four years that construction activities in the interior quad are completed.” But more than that, Hayes has a unique perspective than the rest of us students, “I stated in my remarks at the quad opening last Wednesday – that ‘I’m very excited to finally be able to answer the second most question I have been asked to answer over the last four years – When will the fences be gone? The fences in the inner quad are now gone and the pathways, green spaces and community areas are now open.’”
Students and faculty alike gathered on the brand-new quad to enjoy some desserts and ring in the new center of campus. “This was not the typical…event surrounding the opening of a new major facility where you would have a lot of speeches and structure,” recounts Michael Hayes. “The timing and the setting within the new inner quad area…and a great turn out of students, faculty, staff and other members of the university family just made this a very special evening.”
But of course, the question remained, how did he think the almost four-year construction turned out? When asked whether he considered the quad perfect, Hayes responded with “Perfection is something that for me is probably impossible to attain, there is always something that can be done better; a different choice that could be made or usually not enough funds to achieve everything you want to achieve. The resultant project has exceeded my expectations and shows how the campus landscape can be reimagined to be both function, universally accessible, and appealing.” So, while not perfect, he considers it an expectation-passing success.
Another topic of interest is the new firepit smack dab in the center of campus, something that Michael Hayes hopes will create a sort of meeting place for students. “I really like the inclusion of this element it has the potential to really be a tremendous gathering place for the University community and if it is successful demonstrate that we should be doing more of these type of areas throughout campus. My belief and drive is to provide as many places for interaction for the community that are distinct and different to encourage and promote campus spirit.” Interest in the space isn’t just coming from the faculty however, an anonymous student here told me that he views it as “an area people can go to, to relax,” which at a college campus is of course vitally important!
Finally, Michael Hayes commented on what’s next for UMass Dartmouth now that the campus quad is complete: buildings. “The main campus is over 50 years old and is demonstrating the ravages of time where more than 53% of the facilities are deemed to be “High Risk” – where life cycles of major building components are part due and failures are possible,” says Hayes. “We have an identified $563.5M backlog of deferred maintenance we need to find a way to address this.”
To finish, Michael Hayes wanted to thank many of the talented people who have worked on the project over its almost four-year span, “Crystal Bradwin, University Architect, Peter Geldmacher, Project Manager for this, John Amodeo and Travis Ewen for Carol R. Johnson Associates the landscape architects who designed the space. Arden Engineers who completed the steamline replacement work. J.B. Lanagan who completed the interior quad landscaping and accessibility work.” Thanks to all of these people and certainly many more, our campus finally has one heck of a quad.