Funds have been secured from the University of Utah’s Sustainable Campus Initiative to replace the lawn shared by the Architecture Building, School of Business, and University Museum of Fine Arts with green infrastructure and a pollinator-friendly garden. Stormwater management in this area has been a challenge in the past, leading to flooding of the southwest corner of the Architecture Building during large rain events. With Campus Facilities tearing up the lawn to replace utility lines, the timing was perfect to propose a new design which could simultaneously improve the ecological, economic, and cultural impacts of the site.
The new garden is designed to meet the following five objectives:
- Manage stormwater runoff through the creation of a hybrid bioretention-infiltration channel system
- Replace the existing grass with water-wise and xeric vegetation
- Create a pollinator garden and small habitats to attract diverse species (including bees and hummingbirds)
- Add an inviting garden space for students, faculty, and passerby, to enjoy and learn about green infrastructure, pollinators, and sustainability
- Leverage the opportune timing of Facilities’ already planned alteration of the site.
Once constructed, the garden will undergo scientific monitoring which can help students and staff understand the successes and failures of the design. Since the University has been working to introduce more water-conserving fixtures and native water-efficient vegetation, the garden can help to inspire and guide future projects around campus.
The garden is a work in progress! Facilities just finished laying the new pipes and filling the trench with sand last week. This has already led to improved stormwater management. The final planting design will be handed down from the landscape architect shortly, and then planting will be underway! This stage is expected to occur in the spring semester.