By Amber Bachiochi
A staple of the Southwestern campus will soon be removed, but plans to appreciate its memory are also in the works.
The elm tree on the Student Union deck was recently found to be a safety concern to students, guests, and others on the SWOSU campus. Work to have it cut down was slated to begin last weekend.
According to President Randy Beutler, a number of people were involved in making the decision, including retired SWOSU professor Bill Seibert. Seibert oversees the plants on campus and said that it was cause for concern, seeing as how just this week a large limb broke from the tree and fell.
“Number one, it’s a safety issue,” said Beutler. “And number two, unfortunately, trees, like most things have a lifespan. One positive, though, is that we hope to make the deck a lot more usable.”
The university is currently taking suggestions on how to improve the deck area after the tree is removed.
Ruth Boyd, Vice President of Student Affairs, has been speaking with students, faculty and the Student Government Association. She encourages students to email her at firstname.lastname@example.org to provide their input.
“One thing everyone’s told us is how great a gathering spot it is, and we hope to retain that,” said Boyd.
One factor that has come up is the shade the tree provides and ways to emulate that, either by installing a pergola or a gazebo top. Other factors are being considered based on how much of the tree will be left.
If the entire trunk is removed, one idea has been to replace it with a water feature. If enough of the trunk remains, it would be possible to use it as a table base or carved into something similar to the bulldog statue outside the Burton House. Despite how much of the tree remains, another plan is to salvage some of the un-deteriorated wood to create keepsakes.
When the tree is cut down, officials will have a better idea of its age, which is not documented.