Trustees Back Quad Project to Complement New Res Hall

The St. Lawrence University Board of Trustees this weekend approved a project to level and landscape the Quad to highlight its prominence as a campus centerpiece and allow for enhanced recreational and ceremonial activities.

The $1.27 million project will add green space, a level area in the center and terraced steps leading to a promenade in front of Gunnison Memorial Chapel. The work is expected to be completed before the fall 2014 semester, when the new residence hall being constructed on the eastern edge of the Quad will open to as many as 155 students.

View a virtual tour of the proposed Quad project.

The Quad project is being funded with existing capital budget and private fundraising. The University is working with Saratoga Associates, which helped St. Lawrence create its facilities master plan a year ago, to design the Quad landscaping. Northland Associates, the contractor building the new residence hall, will also do the work on the Quad.

The project will begin in early spring and continue through the summer. The University plans to lay sod instead of seeding the lawn to help ensure the Quad will be available for use in the fall.

Restoring the Quad following the construction of the new residence hall and installation of geothermal wells was always part of the plan, said Chief Facilities Officer Dan Seaman. This expanded project allows for enhancements to the landscaping and grading that will highlight the Quad and the hill upon which the campus’ most iconic buildings stand.

Currently, there is a 19-foot drop in grade from the western edge of the Quad down to where the residence hall is being built. The grading will create the terraced area leading up to the Chapel and a nearly level area the size of a football field in the middle. This center area will have a barely perceptible 5 percent grade to facilitate drainage.

The designers plan to use high-quality materials for the steps and sitting walls to match the architectural “vocabulary” of campus, including the stone used in the new residence hall.

As a result of the project, the green space will grow slightly while enhancing the quality of the Quad. The project, which will remove the “high road” and parking in front of the Chapel and Richardson Hall as well as other paved areas, will add nearly 8,000 square feet of green space to the Quad.

The plans call for adding a small number of parking spaces and a turn-around in front of Richardson to accommodate accessible parking for the Chapel.

The University is completing its review of the damage to the Chapel caused during a fire in October that destroyed the steeple. Restoration work will begin soon and likely continue into spring 2015.

Workers this past fall finished installing 24 geothermal wells underneath the Quad.  The well field and piping, which will provide year-round heating and cooling to the new residence hall, will be covered with a minimum of 5 feet of soil.

Construction of the residence hall, which is being built on the former road and parking lot between the Noble Center and the Quad, began in April. The University has raised more than $7 million toward the projected total cost of $14 million.

View a photo gallery of the proposed Quad renovations.

For more information on the new residence hall and related projects, visit