The "old dorms" on McCormrick Road soon will have a new look as construction crews work to plow up sidewalks to make room for new trees and walkways.
"This is the first phase of a multiyear project to renovate the quad at the old dorms," University Landscape Architect Mary V. Hughes said.
The dorms are about 40 years old and "there has been no significant landscape renovation since they were first built-it's time to spruce things up," she said.
The first phase of the project is taking place in front of Emmet and Humphreys dorms.
The cost of the project will total about $400,000, Project Landscape Architect Jocelyn Kelley said.
"They are repouring and moving sidewalks which were not sighted properly-the realignment will make a lot better relationship between the trees and the sidewalk and the buildings," Kelley said.
Officials listened to student input when deciding how to redo the dorm area, Kelley said.
"Two things high on the list of complaints were the gumballs that fall from the trees, because of the amount of play that wants to happen on those grassy quads-the seed pods are uncomfortable and spiky to step on, so students passionately disliked those," Hughes said.
The sweetgum trees will be replaced with oak trees, Kelley said.
Another reason for the construction is the draining problems caused by the sidewalks, Hughes said.
"We are addressing both those concerns by putting in oak trees and putting in new walks to drain properly," she said.
Hughes added the original trees were too close to the buildings and the new trees will be moved further away to leave growing room.
Trees and shrubs will be planted in the fall, Kelley said.
"The walks will be done by the middle of August and trees by late September," Hughes said.
"The students clearly loved those dorms and were really helpful in pushing us in the direction" we took for the project, Kelley said.
Officials met with students last fall for feeback and landscape gripes, she said.