OSU New Frontiers Landscape to Be Sustainable and Efficient

Feb 01, 2024

While the corner of Farm Road and Monroe Street on the Oklahoma State University campus may currently be an active construction site for the new home of OSU Agriculture, OSU Landscape Services has plans to transform the area into a beautiful and educational landscape environment.

Nick Ouellette, university landscape design manager, said each project on campus starts with an analysis of the existing site location and studying interactions the location has throughout campus. The survey helps determine needs and factors to consider during the design process.

“The OSU landscape master plan assists in driving all components and plans on campus,” Ouellette said. “Design standards were developed with input from students, faculty and staff to enrich creative learning opportunities and social interactions throughout the campus landscape. Landscape Services strives to accentuate our Neo-Georgian architecture while creating a safe, accessible campus for all to enjoy.”

The main entrance of New Frontiers Agricultural Hall, which will house the Ferguson College of Agriculture, OSU Ag Research and OSU Extension, will consist of landscape material and features that complement the existing landscape plantings and design standards along Monroe Street.

Exterior spaces planned for events and social gatherings will utilize Tahoma 31 turfgrass, which was developed by OSU scientists and is known for its features of exceptional freeze tolerance and improved water use efficiency. Landscape Services plans to consult and gather feedback from OSU turfgrass scientists during the design phase.

Other areas of the New Frontiers landscape plan will feature native plantings and an emphasis on selecting and purchasing local materials. Additionally, landscape plantings along the east end of the building will assist in controlling water runoff, and a portion of the garden will function as a rain garden.

Ouellette said soil reconstruction efforts are also vital during the design and installation phase of OSU landscape projects. Construction sites require compacted soil bases for infrastructure, and Landscape Services will develop soil reconstruction plans for each green space during the design period.

“This plan will undergo a series of processes to de-compact and recreate optimal growing conditions to support the landscape plan,” he said. “These processes depend on many design factors but typically involve fracturing and amending existing soil conditions, which often improve soil aeration, drainage, and fertility and allow the landscape to develop as intended.”

Randy Raper, OSU Agriculture assistant vice president of facilities, oversees the New Frontiers construction project and has worked closely with Ouellette and Landscape Services during the design process.

“Nick and his team have created a beautiful landscape design that will highlight the architecture of New Frontiers and the grand entrance on the west side of the building,” Raper said. “Equally impressive is the plaza-like atmosphere they have created on the east side between New Frontiers and the Noble Research Center that will complement both buildings.”

OSU students also assisted with the design layout and final renderings of the New Frontiers landscape plans, Ouellette said.

“Our design team was involved in many landscape architecture class projects that took place during the design development process,” he said. “Landscape Services designs campus green spaces to be sustainable and efficient. A design is only successful if it is maintainable.”

Landscape Services oversees the campus sustainability initiative, which strives to minimize OSU’s environmental footprint.

“The New Frontiers landscape plan captures some difficult-to-maintain locations with proven planting selections and groundcovers, such as gravel and mulch, that will create a clean, safe and maintenance-friendly landscape,” Ouellette said.

Source : okstate.edu
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