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The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

Amphitheater in works on Shaw Field

By Tressa Versteeg

Fall 2008 has good things in store. Not only will the much-anticipated Macalester Athletic and Recreation Center be finished and accessible, but renovations to Shaw Field, including a new semi-amphitheater, will be completed as well.The plans for Shaw Field have yet to be finalized, but drafts of it have been included in the master plan for MARC since May 2005, according to the Director of Facilities Management, Mark Dickinson said.

“The plans [for Shaw Field] include a walk from the Fine Arts to the west entrance of the MARC,” Dickinson said. “The sidewalk will slope so no stairs will be needed at the west entrance of the MARC. There will be ‘green space’ [grass] where there is grass now and past the construction towards the building.”

CLOSE Landscape Architecture+ of Minneapolis is designing the amphitheater and revised landscape at Shaw Field, as well as the MARC. So far, the large task has been difficult, Jean Garbarini, a senior associate at CLOSE, said. there have been a few complications with the project.

“We’ve worked very hard to preserve the open quality of Shaw Field, as it’s an important passive recreation space to the Macalester Campus,” Garbarini said. “We worked with the civil engineers on the project to find another treatment solution for the storm water generated by the project by turning to subsurface infiltration in lieu of a surface storm water pond in Shaw Field.” said Garbarini.

Dickinson believes making the space a welcoming one that people will want to use for practical purposes are is a challenge as well, Dickinson said.

Despite the slope of the land, the ‘amphitheater’ will cut across the Shaw field, making a connection between the Janet Wallace Fine Arts Humanities building and the MARC. The green space of the field will be smaller, but will still have the capability for use as an athletic field.

“The general quality of the field as a passive green space will not change,” Garbarini said. “The solution [to the slope] that is currently being studied is not a true ‘amphitheater’ but rather a series of linear seat walls built into the slope that might function as an informal passive space to relax, observe users on the field, or a more formal small group area. The space will be flexible for any group size with large groups spilling out into the turf grass slopes.” said
Because of its efficient use of space and weather conscious design, the new amphitheater will be useable year round.

“It has the potential for being another gathering space on campus,” Dickinson said. “Because the space will face south, this should allow for use on many sunny days when the temperature may be cold, but you will be warmed by the sun.” said
Garbarini also emphasized the space’s versatility.

“The new space will be more usable in seasons where the old space wasn’t very usable,” he said.. “Flexible seating spaces will allow for use on sunny winter, fall and spring days. When we work on campus design projects in the Midwest we’re always looking for ways to extend the usability of outdoor spaces into these seasons.”

Construction on both the MARC and Shaw Field is expected to be complete by Aug. 1, 2008 of next year.

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