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August 28, 2012, 12:08 pm
Among projects chosen for 2012 awards by the American Society of Landscape Architects was this makeover of what had been a parking lot between two buildings at the Polytechnic campus of Arizona State U., in Mesa. Ten Eyck Landscape Architects created a patch of Sonoran desert alongside a new pedestrian path that also serves as a fire lane. (Bill Timmerman photo)
August 28, 2012, 10:54 am
As you know, we here at The Chronicle’s Buildings & Grounds blog are not big believers in “best” or “top 10″ lists. But when this list of the “top 10 college towns of 2012″ arrived in my in box this morning, I couldn’t resist passing it along.
In doing so, I’m not saying the list is definitive—it’s put together by a publication called Livability, which I have never heard of. But I thought it would spur conversation about everyone’s favorite college towns.
And for starters, we need a basic definition of a college town. “True college towns are places where the identity of the city is both shaped by and complementary to the presence of its university, creating an environment enjoyable to all residents, whether they are enrolled in classes or not,” Livability’s editors write. “They’re true melting pots, where young minds meet old traditions, and political, social, and cultural ideas …
August 27, 2012, 4:31 pm
Gallaudet U. has opened Living and Learning Residence Hall 6, a 175-bed, 60,000-square-foot building designed to DeafSpace standards. The guidelines aim to make buildings user-friendly for the hearing impaired by, among other things, making the best possible use of sight lines, by employing lighting well suited to sign language, and by creating corridors and pathways wide enough for multiple sign users to carry on conversations while walking. (Gallaudet U. photo)
August 27, 2012, 2:50 pm
The Los Angeles Community College District will restart its $6-billion construction effort, after a long moratorium following questions about the district’s construction contracts and spending, reports the Los Angeles Times.
The construction program had been derailed by an 18-month investigation by the Times, which showed that the district had wasted millions of dollars on poorly planned projects, in blunders that included significant errors in construction, the hiring of trustees’ relatives, and contracts with third-party contractors who tacked on millions in added costs. After the newspaper’s investigation, the state controller’s audit found that the district had wasted up to $140-million in taxpayer money and “could not produce complete and timely records, spent funds outside voter-approved guidelines, ignored its own procurement rules, failed to plan effectively, and provided poor…
August 22, 2012, 12:12 pm
For nearly a decade now, the University of Southern California has had a major construction plan in the works—a plan that would pump about $1-billion into a rundown area near the campus, transforming it into restaurants, shops, office space, and student housing. But residents of the area have protested the plan, arguing that it would displace the low-income families that have lived in the neighborhood for a long time. (Click here to listen to a debate about the gentrification issue on Los Angeles public radio.)
Now a committee of the Los Angeles City Council has responded to the protesters, putting the university’s project on hold and asking USC for more information about the displacement of residents in similar university projects across the country, according to the Los Angeles Times. The Times says the university offered $2-million to support low-income housing in the…
August 19, 2012, 10:33 am
Lately, the University of Oregon has had a little trouble getting students to go along with its plan to renovate Erb Memorial Union, the university’s dilapidated student-union building. The sticky part of that plan: getting students to vote to raise their fees to help pay for the $135-million renovation. In two referenda in the past year, students voted down the university’s plans, which would have raised fees by $100 per term.
That has led the university administration to some desperate measures—which may lead to more trouble. Students have learned that the university hired a Denver-based research-and-strategy firm, which specializes in political campaigns, to try to push the students to a yes vote in yet another referendum in October. That fact alone has irked some students who have been active in the student-union debate.
August 17, 2012, 11:47 am
Here is yet another example of a college’s collaborating with local officials in a way that may save both sides some money: Hope College is purchasing a football stadium from the City of Holland, Mich., for nearly $1-million.
The stadium has been used by Holland High School since the late 1970s, according to local news reports, and the college has already put down $1.1-million to replace the turf at the stadium.
“City officials began discussing the stadium’s future with Hope and school leaders more than a year ago because of continuing concerns about the facility’s condition and lack of available funding to address those concerns,” reports The Grand Rapids Press. “While a shared-ownership arrangement was first discussed, it soon became apparent that Hope was in the best position to assume ownership of the facility, Assistant City Manager Greg Robinson said.”
August 14, 2012, 2:32 pm
Sierra magazine has once again released its list of “Cool Schools”—colleges that, by Sierra’s measure, are the greenest of the green. To which we say, “Meh.”
Since Sierra has had problems with collecting information and presenting a sensible methodology in the past, the magazine now relies on the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment, and Rating System, a collection of sustainability data supported by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education.
This year, the top five are (in order) the University of California at Davis, the Georgia Institute of Technology, Stanford University, the University of Washington, and the University of Connecticut. UC-Davis was 16th in the 2010 Cool Schools list, Georgia Tech was 18th, and UConn was 49th. (Stanford and Washington were in the top five that year and in 2011, too.)
The methodology probably changes more than …
August 7, 2012, 11:32 am
Anthony D. Cortese, who has been higher education’s leading sustainability advocate as founder and president of the advocacy group Second Nature, stepped down from that position on Tuesday. David F. Hales, a former president of the College of the Atlantic, will become the new president of Second Nature, which has been the driving group behind the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment. In an e-mail message, Richard Cook, the chairman of the Second Nature’s Board of Directors and former president of Allegheny College, said that Mr. Cortese had been “working with the Board of Directors for a couple of years now, planning for a transition to a life with more time for reflection, writing, and personal pursuits.” The announcement notes that Mr. Cortese will return to Second Nature in an undefined new role in several months.
July 17, 2012, 4:05 pm
Denver — To be sure, there was plenty of gray hair in a Sheraton Hotel ballroom here on Tuesday, where college facilities managers gathered to talk about the most pressing issues during APPA 2012, the annual conference for the college-facilities organization. But when Ted Weidner took the stage, he offered some hard numbers that illustrated the crisis college-facilities organizations face with their aging employees.
Mr. Weidner, assistant vice chancellor for facilities at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, put up a chart indicating that nearly half of the facilities employees at Lincoln were over 50. The biggest proportion of all Lincoln’s facilities employees—about 35 percent—are age 50 to 59.
“Look at that number from 50 to 59, and how big that is,” Mr. Weidner said. “Where are we going to be in five to 10 years?” He noted that he has one employee who is over 80. And a …