By Nicole Stewart, Contributing Writer
UMF students can look forward to having a new patio out in front of Mantor Library, replacing the old stairs and picnic tables that were there before. In addition to creating a new space to hang out, the patio will also have electricity, making it a functional space for programs or even live music. Construction on this recent Master Planning project is currently underway and is expected to be completed within the semester.
Laurie Gardner, the Chief Business Officer at UMF, has been a part of Master Planning, which will bring many other changes to the campus. According to Gardner, it was a couple of years ago that the university decided to have an additional space for students to relax with friends outside of Mantor.
“It was a logical place with Mantor Café, it just created its own life,” said Gardner. “We designed an area, it’s 2,000 square feet additional space that will come out into the green, where that wall is and it will be able to be enjoyed by folks.” With the expanded area in front of Mantor, there will also be tables and chairs for students.
Jeffrey McKay, the Director of Facilities Management, described inventive features that will be accessible on the patio. “We’ll have power out here that if you wanted to do some kind of function and use the green as your seating area, that’s the capability.” With that electricity, bands will be able to perform out in front of the library.
Gardner believes the project will be done by mid-fall. “I imagine that because we’re doing it in house, we’re saving money,” said Gardner, “we do have other competing needs, so we’re trying to get it done as quickly as we can.” Gardner thinks that students will enjoy the new space, and hopes that the patio encourages students to go outside in front of Mantor.
With the changes around UMF, students can look forward to the new environment and spacing. “We’re very happy to do a lot more projects,” said McKay, “making everything more comfortable for people to live and go to school here.”
It will be a bright, new addition compared to the stairs and picnic tables that were there before. “There was very traitorous stairs in front of Mantor, so the first step was to remove hazards,” McKay said.
Hope Lash, a sophomore and student worker in the library, is ready for the change outside of Mantor. “I am excited to have a place out there to study and be outdoors comfortably. I think more outdoor recreation is something big around here,” said Lash, “People here love the outdoors.” The patio will be accessible for all students who would like to be outside and have fun on the green.
“We keep trying to think of ways to enhance the experience, and this is just one of many that we’re implementing,” Gardner said, “It’s one of many to come, it’s always a good thing to the utilization of the campus.”