A proposal for the construction of a park-like “oasis” in the plaza adjacent to Meliora Hall was submitted as a capital budget request. Pending the approval, the plan would involve the allocation of a maximum of $86,000 to the completion of the project.
More specifically, the proposal involves the construction of a triangular area of green space with three elm trees and a sitting wall that would fill part of the bricked plaza area between Meliora Hall and Rush Rhees Library.
While Meliora Plaza, as it is now, is indeed “dead space” as the Students’ Association Senate pointed out when it endorsed the proposal, it does not seem that such an expensive construction plan is warranted. Granted, the anticipated cost of the project is $64,000, with extra money requested to cover any unanticipated costs or errors in estimation, but it still seems like a ridiculously large sum.
It seems that there are numerous other ways that Meliora Plaza could be revitalized without such a tremendous cost. If the goal of the plaza is to encourage students to use the space more, a similar effect might be achieved by bringing in more seating options: additional benches or picnic tables, for example, that are more inviting than the garish, blue, solar-powered one occupying the space now. If the goal of the proposal is to make the space more visually appealing, perhaps sculptures could be added.
As the budget request is considered, we hope that those reviewing the proposal consider these points. Meliora plaza should be renovated, but cost-effectively.