Grambling State University is attacking the issue of beautification and campus appearance with a face-lift funded through a grant and plenty of man-hours.
The Campus Beautification program is funded through Title lll, also known as the Presidents Grant. This endowment is given to the university to take care of the various priorities that the university president has for the institution as a whole, and is considered high priority.
The rigorous process of getting funding began in August of 2012 where Grambling received the Title lll budget code for all future projects. At that time contract negotiations with architects had been finalized. Contract review at OCR-Baton Rouge and design and development proceeded. Grambling State University was approved for Title lll funding this January for approximately $800,000.
The grant is exclusively for campus beautification projects. GSU is currently bidding the projects for an external contractor to handle them, because the projects are too expensive for the staffing levels for GSU’s grounds staff.
“A bulk of the landscaping funding will go towards areas of high visibility and high visited areas by guest and students,” said Ante’ Britten, associate vice president of finance.
Headed by the beautification committee, the project entails six major projects divided in two categories: constructional and landscaping. Constructional projects consist of a brand new sidewalk on Central Avenue and renovating the parking lot behind the Favrot Student Union with 36 newly constructed parking spaces.
“Public safety is our foremost priority, first focusing on potholes, erosion issues, and lack of sidewalks resulting in students walking in the street and creating safety hazards,” said Britten.
Landscaping projects will involve Brown Hall, the Assembly Center, Conrad Hutchinson Performing Arts Center and the Student Square/Quad. The Beautification committee chose all projects based on six key elements, public safety, impact on enrollment, visual impact, stakeholder ownership, sustainability and cost.
“We wanted to give our students a place to congregate, and a place for alumni to meet,” emphasized Britten on the importance of rebuilding the quad area.
University officials have also planned to place a statue in the middle of the quad area, but is not covered by the Title III grant.
Composed of representatives from the Student Government Association, facility and staff as well as student and community representatives and Chair Ante’ Britten, the Beautification Committee was formed in 2012 in a collaborative effort to give GSU a makeover.
21-year-old, Stavinoha Bradley, a business management student from Houston said, “I would like to see campus become a place where all students feel welcomed, a place where students take pride in Grambling, but most importantly a place where every tiger can call home and be proud.”
To add to beautification efforts, the university will be adding a new irrigation system, seasonal trees, shrubs and flowers all around campus that will display school colors throughout the greenery with a consistent theme of gold colored seasonal leaves.
The actual construction has not begun, but the first projects that will be done are the sidewalk and the Student Square in late April. All landscaping and constructional projects will be completed by the upcoming fall semester.