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Campus Greens

Jackrabbit Green Amphitheater Sketch
Jackrabbit Green Sketch

Campus greens are among the most recognizable and memorable campus spaces. They provide settings for classes, special events, recreation and contemplation. Campus greens and open space should reinforce the high-quality values and vision of the university. Characteristics of these spaces should include:

  • Seamless and universally attractive campus landscape
  • Quality design and thoughtful use of architectural and landscape materials
  • Notable pedestrian "front doors" at the campus edge
  • Efficient pedestrian and bicycle access and circulation
  • Clear incorporation of a campus wayfinding program
  • Incorporation of sustainable design principles
  • Support of campus art
  • Thoughtful incorporation of utilities and infrastructure.

The Jackrabbit Green

The Jackrabbit Green Development Plan, a concept plan, serves as a guide for the creation of a strong east-to-west pedestrian corridor along the north end of campus. The concept plan for the Jackrabbit Green establishes a pedestrian corridor highlighted by gathering nodes, campus art, landscape and wayfinding signage. The plan consists of a series of open spaces connected by sidewalks within the core of campus. The existing north/south corridors connecting to the Jackrabbit Green will be enhanced, extending improvements to the historic College Green and other prominent open spaces throughout campus.

The Jackrabbit Green Development Plan also looks at opportunities to develop a memorable outdoor space in the areas among the University Student Union, Briggs Library and Miller Wellness Center. The plan incorporates a stage and amphitheater into this space, activating an area of campus that has become a center for student activity. The completion of the Jackrabbit Green will result in a contiguous unified corridor spanning a significant portion of the university campus.

The development plan also takes into account Medal of Honor Park near DePuy Military Hall. The park honors Congressional Medal of Honor recipients from South Dakota State University and recognizes groups of veterans who served the United States. As the Jackrabbit Green site plan continues to develop, a corresponding Medal of Honor Park will be necessary to establish its importance within Jackrabbit Green.

The construction of the Medary Avenue pedestrian entrance began in fall 2011. This feature includes a campus monument, seatwalls and elevated ornamental plant beds. This entry is a key component for establishing the architectural language for the entire Jackrabbit Green corridor, including building materials, site details and landscape treatments.

The section of the corridor extending from the Medary Avenue entry to Briggs Library likely will occur as part of building projects associated with the Sexauer Field site. Construction of the amphitheater and the major improvements planned for the green between the University Student Union and Ag Engineering will require a major investment by the university, likely to be implemented as a stand-alone project as funding becomes available.

The College Green

Over the long history of the campus, the function of the College Green has evolved. The campus has expanded, primarily to the north and east, relocating much of the residential, academic and student service functions of the campus further away from the College Green. The College Green has undergone numerous changes including the addition and removal of buildings, designation of new purposes for existing buildings, the reorganization of walkways as traffic patterns changed, and the evolution and rejuvenation of the landscape. As the campus expanded, new greens and corridors have developed on campus, though none is more treasured or significant as the College Green.

As the campus fabric is redefined, it is recommended that the university consider options to re-engage the College Green. The development of pedestrian corridors should include strong connections to the College Green. The repurposing of buildings or additions of new buildings near the green should be studied as ways to attract a portion of the student population back to the College Green. Removing the street and parking from the west side of the Morrill Hall will create the opportunity to develop that space into a major north-south campus pedestrian corridor.

Changes to the College Green should be done with great respect for the history of the space, with the goal of re-engaging the student population and reinforcing the significance of the College Green.