AMES, Iowa – Iowa State University will cut down two trees, Black Walnut and Hackberry, that are almost 200-years-old to make way for a new student residence hall.
“Our enrollment has grown significantly in the last five or six years,” said Cathy Brown with Iowa State University-Campus Planning. “We had to make a difficult decision in this case to consider the current needs of our students and long-term needs for housing.”
Over the past 10 years, enrollment at Iowa State has grown by 35 percent while demand for on-campus housing has outpaced that, increasing 55 percent during the same time period.
Campus Planning worked with the Outdoor Teachings Laboratory Committee but could not find a way to build the hall without removing the trees.
“They expressed concern. We shared that concern,” Brown said. “This is a pretty good-sized building and it takes up a lot of the property.”
The location of the site was the main factor in why they decided to build there.
“It is a short walking distance to the main park of campus. It will give the students easy access for classes, recreation and other activities,” Brown said.
In order for construction to begin the trees must come down but they hope the they will stay on campus in some form.
“The tree-cycle program is where we recycle and re-purpose the wood from large trees, when we regrettably have to remove them,” said Brown. “We have had furniture built out of them. Table, chairs, benches and we have had clocks made available through the alumni association.”
The exact date has not been set for when the trees will come down but the construction is slated to being in the middle of May.