Upper Campus sidewalks expand to meet fire safety regulations

Construction on upper campus is not yet complete but is now in compliance with safety regulations stipulated by the city of San Antonio. An expansive walkway of colored concrete, textured in score joints, is bordered by newly landscaped areas and will provide access to San Antonio Fire Department personnel should the need arise.

In December, after courses ended, Trinity did not pass a safety test conducted by the fire department outside Northrup Hall. The test included three inches of simulated rain on the grass hill that runs alongside the acequia. Dark grooves in the grass show where a fire truck first stalled and later became stuck in the mud.

John Greene, director of campus planning and sustainability, said that the grasscrete next to Northrup would not work for the Center for Sciences and Innovation.

“We had to go with what you’d call a hardscape,” Greene said. “This way we fulfill all of the fire safety requirements set by the city.”

Starting with the kiosk outside of Stieren Theater, the enlarged walkway proceeds down to Chapman Hall and an area called the Chapman Connection, where a bridge connects CSI and Chapman. A large concrete square outside will serve as a turnaround in that area.

Additionally, Greene comments on the user-friendly nature of the walkway.

“The area on upper campus and leading to the library is what I like to call a CFZ, or cart free zone,” Greene said. “We wanted students to be able to walk side-by-side and to be able to pause and talk with each other.”

A new sidewalk of colored concrete bricks surrounds both an oval of lawn and a circle around the Magic Stones. Greene said the stones could have been moved but the decision was ultimately made to leave them. A new feature is that the Magic Stones will be lit at night.

First year Iris Baughman looks forward to seeing no construction on campus but is pleased by the effort to beautify the campus.

“I’m glad it will not be under construction as I’m leaving,” said Baughman. “I will get to see the completed project.”

In addition to a new brick sidewalk and enlarged walkway, a variety of plants and trees have been added to upper campus. Stones alongside and around Stieren were added in conjunction with the project.

Although the sidewalk bricks are not the same color as the rest of the buildings, senior Sara Hartmann likes their style.

“I like the brick because it is somewhat in touch with the aesthetic of the university,” Hartmann said.

The project will be completed in the near future, although it was not in time for the All-Campus picnic and the Tower Climb. Joint sealant laid on Tuesday, August 27, takes twenty-four hours to dry. While it was not intentional, the circle around Magic Stones mirror that around Miller Fountain and the oval sidewalk reflects the Esplanade.