Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Hodge Hall: Week 120 -- Preserving the trees

Some 400-500 maple trees will be planted on campus in
honor of Herman B Wells and his dedication to keeping
the IU campus beautiful.

Herman B Wells was a fierce protector of trees and green spaces at Indiana University. He was intent on preserving the woodland character of the campus, even during enormous growth and land acquisition in the 25 years he was president. 

Wells' policy was that for every tree cut down, two trees must be replanted. No matter what.

So when the Hodge Hall Undergraduate Center began expanding two years ago to make room for the growing needs of the Kelley School of Business, and construction cleared about a dozen trees along 10th Street, our deans developed a plan for how we’d replant those trees.

One tree, a sugar maple dedicated to Wells himself, was a tough one to remove. But landscape experts collected seeds from the tree, and used those seeds to produce an estimated 400-500 smaller trees over the last two years. 

We hope to plant 100 of these trees this fall in Dunn’s Woods. The remaining trees are anticipated to be planted on campus over the next few years after they have grown to a more substantial size. 

Other trees that were removed for construction were preserved until the final phase. Last week, those trees were repurposed into sturdy, herringbone wood floors and baseboards in conference and presentation rooms that will overlook the Arboretum for years to come.

Classes begin Monday, and construction is on schedule. The Hodge Hall expansion and renovation project also includes updates to the original building, happening now through 2016. 

Finishing touches are all that remain in the new Hodge Hall Undergraduate Center: Detailing, cleaning, and installing technology. All classrooms and both auditoriums are furnished, and the screens are being mounted in the conference rooms, classrooms and trading room—officially named the Dan and Maureen Aron Investment Center— this week. 

Here’s a look at the progress: