August 2, 2016 | 11 a.m.
By Monique Kleinhuizen '08 GS'16, new media strategist
Bethel’s St. Paul campus has long featured patios, open spaces, and walking trails that have showcased the Minnesota seasons. This fall, there will be a new outdoor gathering space that will give students a place to study, worship, gather, and linger outdoors.
The space is being primarily funded by the Bethel Student Government (BSG) Legacy Fund, which allocates a portion of undergraduate students’ activity fee to sporadic larger projects that will benefit students long-term. The new patio east of Brushaber Commons (BC) will feature natural clay pavers surrounded by a variety of perennials, grasses, and shrubs. There will be year-round seating for about 60 people with chairs and tables from By The Yard, a Minnesota-based company that uses 93% post-consumer materials to create its environmental-friendly patio furniture. Block walls on each side will offer additional seating for larger gatherings.
A number of bollards with LED lighting and device charging stations will be located throughout, as well as two commercial-grade gas fire pits. The color scheme of the materials will echo the BC and new Wellness Center, which are both visible from the space.
“The focus of this fund—and our students’ heart—is really building up Bethel beyond them. We live in a culture of instant gratification, and this is so counter to what’s happening in our culture. It’s exciting,” says Miranda Powers, associate dean for campus engagement, who worked closely with the student committee who selected this project from a number of possibilities, surveyed students about their preferences, and then worked with the administration to carry out the project. “They really listened well to the university—when they surveyed the students, over 70% were in support of it.”
“We’re beneficiaries of a project that was initiated years ago,” says Student Body Vice President Taji Onesirosan, who led the Legacy Fund committee for BSG. “We did lots of research, asking, ‘What do students want? What’s best for our community?’ There’s also the legacy component—we wanted to build something sustainable and long-lasting.”
“This will really be an outdoor living space, an extension of the BC. Bethel is all about community…we’re playing to our strengths,” says Onesirosan. “Student Life—and student groups like BSG—are here to enhance the student experience. Physical spaces and structured events within them bring people together.”
The BSG student committee behind the terrace project included Student Body President Zoe Vermeer, Student Body Vice President Taji Onesirosan, Financial Officer Matthew Engelien, and Student Senators David Crane, Sterling Harer, Chloe Houle, Dylan Laroche, Tyler Martens, Holly Tag, Stephen Tetzlaff, and Georgette Wendt.
The project is just one of several construction projects being completed in anticipation of the fall term. The Clauson Center (CC) third floor lounge is being renovated to include new booths and soft seating with ottomans and tablet arms. Seating is also being added on the “bridge” in the BC, with tables and chairs that give added flexibility for meeting or studying individually. Benches are being added near the windows where students tend to congregate.
“The whole idea is to enhance spaces for studying and socializing,” says Associate Director of Planning and Projects Mike Lindsey.
Students in the Department of Human Kinetics and Applied Health Science will also return to a brand new space, townhouses D and E in Arden Village West have been re-sided as part of a multi-year renovation, the Robertson Center (RC) third floor restrooms have been renovated, and team-centered environmental branding, air conditioning, and windows have been added to the recently-built Soccer Team Building at the Ona Orth Athletic Complex.