New quad area opens at WCU to mixed reactions


Photo: Jeffrey Hughes

The new quad area and fountain are finally available to students at WCU, highlighting months of work from construction crews.
Joe Walker, Associate Vice Chancellor for Facilities Management at WCU, was very pleased with how the quad has turned out. “We are excited to see all of the students hanging out and utilizing the first phase of this wonderful gathering space that is now open. It reassures all of us that this was a much needed piece for the life of the campus community,” said Walker.

However, the timing of the new quad area has many students feeling less assured about the necessity of the fountain. WCU will be facing budget shortfalls in the coming year, as the state has projected a loss of about $8.6 million in the 2011-2012 fiscal year. Because of this, 10 employees on WCU’s staff will lose their jobs, and 15 more positions are expected to be cut between now and July 1.

Sarah Clark, a student at WCU, was very critical of the school’s spending on the fountain. “I really like it, but at the same time I don’t see why we’re spending so much money on the fountain and at the same time we’re having to cut teacher’s jobs because of the budget,” said Clark.
Fellow student Jenny Jessup agreed, saying, “It’s really great, I think it’ll be a fun place to hang out. But I’m not sure it was worth the price, with all the budget cuts going on.”

However, some were just happy to have a new area to enjoy with their friends. Matthew Jasper said, “I think it’s a nice addition to the UC lawn. It’s really beautiful and I think it’ll be a fun place to just relax and hang out with friends.”

Those who want to enjoy the new fountain will have to wait a bit longer.  “The workers just finished painting the fountain this week. There is still more to be done to the fountain,”Walker said.

Construction on the new quad area is wrapping up, and will be completed by the fall 2011 semester of school. The fountain should be operating regularly at that time.