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Tech's new look is turning heads and raising questions

By Sarah Dingwall
On March 20, 2014

  • Junior Outfielder/Infielder Michael Morris makes contact with a pitch during an inner-team scrimmage. Tech’s schedule opens today in Lubbock, Texas, at the Red Raider Classic. Allie Sampson

This campus has always been beautiful and one of the greenest campuses around the state. Well, at least it did until this past year.

I left for Florida just before Spring Break, looked over at the Bryan Fine Arts building and had flashbacks from my childhood about the beautiful trees that surround the building.

Those trees were there when my family moved here in the 1990s. I love those trees. Well, now I have to say "loved." Those trees are now gone.

I have to admit to being really angry with the new grounds keeper for this destruction.

When I returned to campus from my trip, I saw that the trees were missing. Not just missing, but totally gone. The only remnants left were a few wood chips.

Everyone who was with me started asking "why?" Well, Tech Times actually released a statement from the new grounds keeper.

Kevin Tucker, director of horticulture and grounds, or, simply said, head grounds keeper, has been making decisions about which trees are to go and which will stay, all in the name of progress.

Tucker said, "Please understand that such removal does not occur before diligent evaluation occurs. Prior to a decision for removal, a plant material is carefully scrutinized."

 Well, as much as one can understand how hard a decision it can be, the least you could do is post up flyers on buildings where students study or spend a lot of time explaining why the trees around their buildings are being removed. A little common courtesy would be much appreciated. An email only to the people who occupy the building isn't enough.

Tucker, I believe, really does have the best interest of the campus at heart, but to see a tree that you grew up with there one day and gone the next is very hard.

I am very nostalgic about this campus. I remember when they cut the Bradford Pear trees that lined the driveway to the President's house down. I honestly wanted to cry. That was the most beautiful driveway in town to me. I thought that they might plant a set of more sturdy trees along the drive, but they didn't. It is just another empty lane. I still think they should plant Dogwood trees down both sides of the lane.

Tucker said they ask five questions to determine if the trees need to be cut down: is it healthy, does it cause a security threat, is it in a logical place, does it contribute to the aesthetics of the campus, and finally, has it overgrown it's environment?

I understand all of these questions and can see where any trees that are right up against a building can possibly cause foundational issues, but, beyond that, why cut it down? Some of the trees around BFA could have been causing this particular issues, but what about the others? The only trees that remain in front of the building are only pretty in spring and fall. During the winter, they are naked and not growing. That makes for a starkly ugly building.

Joan Derryberry called our walls (buildings) "russet brown." Well, the buildings now look barren.  I miss the warmth that the trees gave the campus and the buildings. "Campus green" is another way Joan saw the campus. That is the way I have always seen this place, beautiful and covered in green. Maybe not always because of the grass, but definitely because of the trees.

 Tucker has said that he wants to hear from the students, faculty, alumni, and community about the changes. So, here is my input. Please, let us know when you are going to take away another tree so we can go take pictures before it is gone.

One more thing - when are you going to plant more trees to replace the ones you have cut down? I am not asking you to plant trees that would eventually have to be cut down because they could cause more damage to roads, buildings and sidewalks. What about some more Dogwoods or something similar?

 I love this campus more than most and I hate seeing it change in ways that feel more like destruction than beautification. So, please, Mr. Tucker, please talk to the students before you make a change so we understand why something has to go away. Just like a doctor, tell us the diagnosis before you start the treatment.


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