Plaza finished in time for Homecoming

The Sandra K. Giachino Reavey Sesquicentennial Plaza construction is officially finished. A ribbon cutting ceremony took place Oct. 19, just in time for Homecoming.

The plaza renovation project was approved February of this year and construction began after the commencement ceremony of the last academic year was finished. The plans for the new plaza went through several design changes that were put together by outside architectural designers such as the Hitchcock Design Group and Truman State University’s architect Mark Schultz. An earlier design plan involved more trees in the new plaza area, but that was downscaled to allow for more space for events on the open area between Magruder Hall and the Student Union Building. 

The full budget details for the plaza renovation are not yet available, but the majority of the budget came from a $1 million donation from the Reavey estate. Because of the large donation, the plaza is named after Sandra K. Giachino Reavey, Dave Rector, vice president for administration, finance and planning, said. Reavey was a former member of the Truman State University Foundation Board, as well as an alumna of Truman’s School of Business.

“Several hundred thousand was raised through general fundraising,” Rector said. “There are bricks around the plaza so that people that donated could have their name on a brick or bigger piece of stone.”

The old fountain was built in the ’80s and had many issues. In addition to the fountain’s visible structure falling apart, there was no filtration, sterilization or chemical treatment to the water, Schultz said. The old fountain also did not have a direct water hookup, so the fountain needed to be filled with a garden hose before every use. There also was not any draining ability in the old fountain, meaning the water had to be pumped out manually.

Along with problems regarding the old fountain, there were underlying problems in the plaza that needed to be fixed, as well, Schultz said. The sanitary and storm sewers underneath the site were severely decayed, so they had to be rebuilt. There were also old foundations that were thought to be removed that were instead buried underneath the plaza. Builders had to work around that alongside the steam tunnel and high voltage duct bank. During the summer there was also a large amount of rain that made using earth-moving equipment difficult and slowed the process down. The weather eventually dried up and allowed for continued work to be done on the project. These issues caused a slight setback to the renovation process, however, the finished project was still able to be completed on time.

“The concept for redoing the plaza started about 12 years ago,” Schultz said. “We did preliminary designs back in 2014 and 2015. When we received the approval to start the project, we took the concepts that we created years ago and fleshed them out.”

The new fountain has filtered and chemically treated water that goes through a sterilization unit. The fountain also has LED lights that can change colors and systems that reduce the amount of splashing outside of the fountain’s area. The project included landscape work, such as flattening out small hills and creating open, grassy spaces in the area to the south of the plaza. This is an ideal time of year for growing new grass and trees, Sam Guth, physical plant director and safety manager, said. There was work done to the patio area outside of the SUB which included raising the patio to possibly put in a door to the SUB in the future.