Outdoor Space Renovation
Outdoor patio for community
Designing student spaces
Imagine…It’s early October, as the sun sets an autumn chill fills the air. A host of students congregate in the courtyard just outside the Athletic Center. The crackle of a stone fireplace anchors the event with roasted hot dogs and marsh mellows. Outdoor seating welcomes students to stay for a while. A palpable buzz is evident as students mingle freely enjoying the refreshments underneath the twinkle of the strung outdoor lights. In the corner of the paved patio sits two students entertaining the audience in soft song on acoustic guitars while conversations spontaneously surface from the swelling assembly of now 150 students. Students roam in and out of the courtyard throughout the evening as an easy casualness settles upon the crowd. This is just what students need heading into mid-mod exams, some soul-refreshing moments with friends. As the night continues, this patio space becomes a sacred place for safe conversations, de-stressing laughter, and an adhesive experience for the Crown community. Sounds great, doesn’t it?
But, as nice as the image of a relaxed outdoor gathering may be, it is an unrealized vision. Currently, there are a few small areas that have a picnic table that allow 8-10 students to meet, but the lack of outdoor lighting makes these spaces unusable after dark. There is a fire pit available, but again there is no outdoor lighting and no seating available. What has been a growing request and need is a dedicated outdoor patio that can host small concerts, weddings, receptions, and be a general hospitality area for students. It is believed that such a space could quickly become the most popular space on campus.
Leadership at Crown has engaged several landscape architects and patio installers to consider this project. Such a space with good outdoor lighting and seating could serve as a space for conversation and community at the college. It would be a signature space for campus tours and add to Crown’s ability to host weddings and outdoor events in the summer, thus being another revenue stream for the college.
When students were asked about the potential of an outdoor patio, one student enthusiastically declared, “When money goes towards something that students both long for and can see, such as creating a space for students to operate outside of the dorm and classroom, students are going to buy-in to the school and be proud of what they have at Crown.”
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