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Saturday, March 6, 2021

Campus beautification comes to fruition

Pierce College underwent a major transformation within the past few years, developing new buildings, planting more trees and adding a botanical garden populated with native California plant species.

In spring 2017, the new buildings Birch, Elm, Iris, Juniper and Alder opened on campus. The new buildings run efficiently on low energy lights and are designed to allow more natural light in to save energy.

Public Relations Manager Doreen Clay said the campus looks much better now than it did when she first came to Pierce 15 years ago.

“For a long time, I was in temporary facilities in the Village. They were passable, but oh my God, it’s a complete other world,” Clay said. “It’s so much nicer here. We have brand new buildings, modern furnishings and systems. Everything is lovely and new.”

The exterior of the new buildings also offer new seating areas and pathways led by flowers and plants. These new additions on campus promote beautification with an eco-friendly approach.

Dean of Student Engagement Juan Carlos Astorga said that Plant Facilities has been working on adding more trees on campus to create more shade and to further beautify the campus.

“We want to continue to plant as many trees as possible,” Astorga said. “We’re starting to grow on the sustainability of the plants.”

Pierce College’s Botanical Garden, located between the Elm Building and the English and Social Sciences Building, hosts an array of native California plants around a pond. The Botanical Garden also has new benches throughout the area where students can relax and enjoy the garden’s scenery.

“Students adapt so quickly. They just populate the new areas as though they’ve always been there,” Clay said. “We have completely redone the campus. It’s so much more beautiful, and it’s becoming more and more modern. Everything is being upgraded. We are moving into the 21st Century.”

According to Astorga, Pierce is making more efforts for efficiency. Campus beautification has been largely credited to the Plants Facilities Department at Pierce, and they are planning future beautification projects.

According to Dean of Student Engagement Earic Dixon-Peters, Pierce has made great strides to aesthetically improve the campus, but Pierce can and will continue to improve.

“In the big scheme of things, we have a new bond measure that passed. We’ll have new buildings come up that will add to the attractiveness of the campus,” Dixon-Peters said. “What can we do with the amazing amount of space we have?”

According to Astorga, some of the projects the college is considering are: upgrading bathrooms to have low energy lights and more water efficient sinks and toilets, and adding more hand dryers to save paper and prevent trash build up.

Astorga said that campus beautification provides opportunities for students to contribute their ideas on how to improve the campus and also have an understanding of the impact of our carbon footprint.

“The sense of why we beautify is to create a space that draws students to want to be here,” Astorga said.

Dixon-Peters said research has shown that if a student feels safe and comfortable in their environment, they will study better.

“Pierce College is a beautiful place now that the fences are down. Now that the North of Mall is open, I think people are feeling more engaged,” Dixon-Peters said.

Dixon-Peters wants to encourage faculty and students to enjoy the new improvements, but he also says they need to help take care of the campus.

“Even though we have a beautiful campus, it is important for each and every person to take responsibility to keep it beautiful,” Dixon-Peters said. “Yes, we have janitorial staff, but if I see paper on the ground, I’m going to pick it up. It’s a community responsibility to keep the campus nice and beautiful.”

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