Joseph M. Bryan Jr. Plaza Completed
A mist rises from among the 28 boulders at the center of the Joseph M. Bryan Jr. Plaza. Newly planted oaks and Japanese maples surround intersecting brick walkways.
“The plaza caps over a decade of overdue investment in the functionality of our buildings and grounds,” President Kent Chabotar said. “It is one of the few projects visible from the Quad because most of the effort has been in interior renovation and building systems.
“I could not be more proud of the many community members who helped to design and build this magnificent contributor to how our campus looks and works.”
The project cost $700,000 with $300,000 for roadwork and parking, $175,000 for the plaza and walkways, $120,000 for the misting rock garden, and $105,000 for improvements to the Founders loading dock.
Changes to the roadway made the area safer and more pleasant for walkers while maintaining access for fire and emergency services. The misters use less than five gallons of water per day and will be turned off before the first hard freeze.
The construction is consistent with the Campus Master Plan, approved by trustees in 2006, which calls for a more pedestrian-friendly campus to be accomplished, in part, by closing the road behind Founders. The plan emphasizes creating more small-group and community gathering spaces.
The plaza was made possible through the generosity of the Joseph M. Bryan Foundation of Greater Greensboro. The foundation gave the College $1 million to honor Joseph M. Bryan Jr. ’60 for 40 years of service to the College. The $300,000 of the foundation’s gift not used for the plaza will be added to the endowment for the Center for Principled Problem Solving.
“Joe has a special commitment to Guilford students,” trustee Carole Bruce said at the plaza’s Oct. 9 dedication. “He has walked these grounds as a student himself, and for many years as an alumnus, and he knows how important various resources are to sustaining the quality of the student experience in this place.
“This dedication is about more than a wonderful gift from the Bryan Foundation, for which we are very grateful, or even the recognition of all Joe has done for Guilford. It’s about reaffirming our commitment to the important core value of ‘community’ within the campus now and in the future.”
Joe, a private investor and civic leader, has been a member of Guilford’s Board of Trustees since 1973. Chair of the Board of Trustees and the Advancing Excellence campaign, he has endowed the Bryan Series with gifts of $2 million toward a commitment of $3.5 million.
Established by Joseph M. Bryan Sr., the Bryan foundation has given $2 million to the College, including a $1 million gift to the Our Time in History campaign toward construction of the Joseph M. Bryan Jr. Auditorium in the Frank Family Science Center.
Like the terrace in front of Founders, the plaza is a spot for informal student interaction, said Jon Varnell, vice president for administration.
“Our students value community,” Jon said. “The plaza helps strengthen our community by providing the campus with another outdoor gathering space.”
In addition to the plaza, numerous other construction projects have been completed since the spring. Renovations and updates were made to King Hall, English Hall, the Registrar’s Office, Betty Place Classroom, the North Apartments and Bauman Telecommunications Center. Work continues on the donor-funded Jack Jensen Golf Center, a training facility for the golf team.