Students may have noticed new trees popping up around campus lately. OCCC has recently planted more than 100 trees around Faculty Circle, the road that loops around the campus, as part of the third phase of an ongoing 20-year Master Site Plan.
“The campus will pretty much be a forest by the time it’s all done,” said Gary Phillips, Building and Campus Services supervisor.
The blueprint for the Master Site Plan shows more than 150 trees lining both sides of Faculty Circle. The trees are Shumard red oaks, a tree native to Texas that should be able to withstand Oklahoma’s scorching summers, Phillips said.
The plan is still in the beginning stages, with more trees to follow. An upcoming project includes a tree-lined walkway from the Arts Festival area straight through campus to the John Massey Center.
Completed plantings include all the trees that currently surround the campus: to the west along Interstate 44, the east side of campus along May Avenue, and along SW 74th Street on the north side of OCCC.
The south side of campus, separating the grounds from surrounding residential areas, has seen the planting of evergreens that provide a screen between the campus and nearby houses.
President Paul Sechrist spoke highly of the project.
“We wanted to give the campus a university feel,” he said.
Sechrist said he also wants students to have a pleasant walk to and from class.
The idea of a leafy park-like environment has its appeal to student Emily Cooper.
“It would be really nice to walk around campus on a nice day or in between classes and the trees make it feel like a park,” Cooper said. “Whoever is responsible should be called The Lorax, because it is all very beautiful.”
Sechrist said Ben Brown, OCCC’s Board of Regents chairman, was instrumental in getting the trees on campus and helping build a “climate conducive to learning.”
It was Brown who brought the idea to have a more university feel to the campus to the attention of the board, he said.
Sechrist said he wants the students to “want to be here.”
Phillips said the Performing Arts Theater currently being constructed on campus also is a part of the Master Site Plan and will include the planting of a number of trees around it as well.
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