Just in time for the new school year, Marymount University has transformed the parking lot in front of the Main House into a usable green space. This effort is fueled by the University’s commitment to students’ experience and to the vitality of the natural environment that surrounds the campus.
“As students, staff, faculty and their families enter Marymount, they’ll now be greeted with a beautiful lawn devoted to bringing our community together,” said Dr. Irma Becerra, President of Marymount University. “This area will bring us closer to Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’ and his call to become stewards of the most precious resource we share, which is our beautiful world.”
The area boasts about a half-acre of lush grass, creating a sprawling recreational space intended for the campus community to stroll through, meet up for lunch and to become the site for future events and gatherings.
Demolition of the parking lot began on August 2 and was successfully completed on schedule on August 15. The parking lot was originally built in May 2000 under the leadership of Sister Eymard Gallagher as a temporary parking solution until the Blue and White Garages could be built. The garages now provide ample parking for the University, prompting the restoration of the green space.
“Bringing back the beloved recreation area has sparked overwhelmingly positive feedback from our staff and faculty and is an impactful step in fulfilling the Marymount Campus Master Plan,” explained Barry Harte, Vice President for Finance and Operations & Treasurer at Marymount. “This change is important not only to our students and their families, but also to the greater Arlington community of which Marymount is proud to be a part of.”
This project will also benefit the community by improving campus stormwater runoff management. According to research conducted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, green space effectively absorbs stormwater and boosts water quality, compared to the impervious surface of a parking lot.
On August 23, Marymount will host a picnic on the restored front lawn to mark the start of the academic year.
In the near future, Marymount looks forward to additional campus enhancement projects, including a reoriented front entrance to help minimize vehicular access to the core of campus, making it more pedestrian friendly; the creation of a Student Hub in Rowley Hall; and the transformation of The Lodge, a historic campus structure, into a Welcome Center.