Science Center Construction Update
Stone Walls and Trees –
Much of the buzz surrounding the construction of the Science Center has centered on the heart of the building – the courtyard.
Early on, says Gordon Leversee, dean of sciences, it was decided that the courtyard would be a mix of the aesthetic and the educational – a space where faculty could bring classes or conduct experiments and a space to visit, admire, and relax.
Little by little, representations of New Hampshire's geological and biological lands have been created in the open air space. First, last fall, multi-ton boulders were deposited in the construction zone. Over winter, two stone walls were built and the ground was divided into ecological zones and pathways.
Once these zones are planted, says Gordon, students and visitors will be to walk through second-growth forest, shrubs and bushes, hedgerows, and a meadow. Each zone will have a collection of plants organized according to their families and their evolutionary relationship to each other.
Salmon Falls Nursery of Maine delivered the first of the trees in late April. Nine trees, including hemlock, birch, oak, and London stem, were swung by crane over the roof of the Science Center into the courtyard. According to Ed Mros of the nursery, each tree stood over 20 feet tall and weighed about 1,200 pounds. The nursery crew also planted a number of shrubs and installed automatic irrigation systems.
Once in place, the pathway paving will tell a story of the geology of the region, complete with fault lines and rock layers. In anticipation of removing snow from the courtyard, a snow-melt heating system was installed under the pathways earlier on in the construction.