The University of West Georgia is making the Z6 dining hall more appealing and a more inviting place for socialize for students.
Last year, UWG replaced all of the brick on the outside of the dining hall and the entire glass door front. The university now finds it necessary to improve the scenery in the front of the building.
“We realized we had this really nice looking building that you couldn’t even see,” said Christi Inglis, UWG staff architect on the project. “It wasn’t very welcoming and didn’t really invite people into the building.”
The improvements are to include new plants, a low seating wall and a combination of concrete and brick pavers. The Japanese maple tree that was once in front of the building has been relocated to Forrest Drive, and many of the other plants were moved to various parts of campus. Inglis hopes once construction is finished that the area will not only look better but become a place where students can socialize.
“It will be a little bit more open and feel a bit more like a square or a plaza,” said. Inglis. “It will have more of an opportunity for there to be places that people can sit and read or have lunch outside. We wanted to make the Z6 a more inviting place where the students can just spend time.”
In addition to the construction happening to the front of the Z6, the university has renovated the handicap parking areas near the right side of the building.
“We are also replacing the existing [handicap] accessible parking that was in a really awkward location,” said Inglis. “We wanted to have the parking in a location where you entered it off the same drive as the rest of the parking [near the Z6], and you don’t have to back out your car into traffic while also trying to watch for pedestrians at the same time.”
UWG hired Felicity Davis, a freelance landscape architect, to design the new parking area and the area in front of the building.
“She did a really great job with a lot of constraints,” said Inglis. “She had to work around the existing conditions to a large extent, so she had to work within a reasonable budget and still do something that was going to be interesting and not only look good, but wear well and be flexible for other future improvements that we might want to make.”
Many other improvements will be made both inside and outside of the building. Over the next few years, the Z6 will slowly transition from just a simple old dining hall, where students only eat, to a place where the scenery is enjoyable and they can gather and socialize for as long as they want.
Expected completion for the construction is May 1, 2016.