By Avery Ballmann | Staff Writer
Fountain Mall is where all the action happens on campus. With all the wear and tear from tents, student events, the homecoming bonfire and lack of care, it just looks ugly.
The grass is brown and patchy, and it’s not because it’s beginning to get warmer outside; it’s because it’s worn down. The back half closest to the fountain is pure mud, which limits usable space. Along the sidewalks, there are ant hills and pools of water. For one of the only large green spaces on campus — and with the amount of money Baylor possesses — it needs to receive more attention and proper care. Students value this space, and Baylor should too.
What’s most noticeable on Fountain Mall is the large rectangular outline of yellow grass where the homecoming bonfire is held. I know it’s tradition to celebrate homecoming in the center of campus, but having a full-fledged fire without accounting for the repercussions isn’t logical.
Not to worry — there are several tools that can keep this tradition and the grass alive. Currently, Baylor uses a six-inch sand base, but landscapers can lay either patio slabs or brick pavers. This will protect the grass below and can be removed so that Fountain Mall can return to normalcy after the celebration. Other fire protectants that would be easier to maneuver are fire-resistant mats or dousing the grass with water before the blaze. These are simple and effective ways to keep this space beautiful and useful after homecoming.
Most student organizations host their events on Fountain Mall, which is great, but it causes the grass to deteriorate due to the chairs, tables and stage. Lawn furniture will eventually cause grass to die, but there is a way to prolong its life. Furniture, such as the white chairs and tables, must be moved around once a week to give the grass a chance for water and sunlight. If chairs will be on Fountain Mall for several days for an event, there are rubber stoppers to place at the bottom of each leg so that the chairs don’t sink into the grass. Again, these are fairly cheap preventive measures to keep this green space healthy.
A last resolution to maintain the grass is to plant flowers or to replace the grass under trees with heartier, shade-resistant grass. This could be implemented under the shadier areas to provide a fuller, greener landscape.
I love Fountain Mall, as do many students, but in order to keep appreciating it, Baylor needs to invest value into it. If Baylor doesn’t take care of this space, eventually students will no longer be able to use it in its full capacity.