Although much grass has been removed from The Lawn this summer, work on the area will yield a greener campus this fall.
Crews with R.C. Mathews Contractor spent nearly two months drilling 106 bores on the south end of the grassy area to install a geothermal heating and cooling system for the forthcoming Academic and Dining Services Complex. Now they are installing an underground drainage system to improve the grass. The Lawn is scheduled to be restored and open to students by mid-October with a water fountain on the north side on the edge of McWhorter Plaza that will be functional by Nov. 1.
“This project is another addition to the University’s many green initiatives and shows Belmont’s continued commitment to environmental sustainability and energy efficiency as our campus grows. While The Lawn is temporarily unavailable this summer, its renovation supports ongoing sustainable efforts and preserves green space. When it reopens late this fall, The Lawn will return as a beautiful park in the center of campus for students, faculty and staff to enjoy,” said Vice President of Finance and Operations Steve Lasley.
The geothermal system is projected to yield the University an estimated 40 percent in cost savings over a standard heating and cooling system. The Environmental Protection Agency recognizes it as the most environmentally-friendly heating and cooling system because it uses the earth itself as the source to transfer temperatures, reducing energy costs and pollution concerns. Instead of generating heat with standard conventional furnaces, in the geothermal system water is funneled 500-feet underground through pumps that use the earth’s constant temperature of 50 degrees to warm buildings in the winter and cool them in the summer.
“This geothermal system will be the same as what’s installed in the Baskin Center. This system is proven to be efficient and economical to operate,” said Dan Calhoun, senior project manager for R.C. Mathews.
When all construction in that area of campus is completed next summer, The Lawn will include a new turf system with trees outlining its perimeter and a sidewalk on the east side will connect McWhorter Plaza to Soccer Field Drive, allowing pedestrians to access the Baskin Center and Academic and Dining Services Complex.