Mercyhurst seniors to build outdoor plaza

This year’s Mercyhurst College seniors have decided to build an outdoor plaza for their senior gift.

The plaza consists of a circular structure of retaining walls, which will provide seating and a gathering area for students, faculty and college community members. The plaza is designed to serve as an outdoor classroom during good weather.

Liz Contrella, chair of the senior gift committee, said she thinks the gift will live up to the longstanding Mercyhurst senior gift tradition.

 “All gifts in the past have been measures of the dedication and hard work of the senior class, and I imagine our 2011 senior class gift will measure up equally,” she said.

The plaza will be at the grassy area of the intersection point between the Zurn Hall, Hirt Center and Old Main sidewalks.

The senior gift committee chose the design to enhance the unused space and blend with the aesthetic style of the college.

“As a class, we will leave this plaza to Mercyhurst as a beautiful addition to our campus that we can always return to and visit,” Contrella said.

Junior Melissa Sheffield shared her thoughts about the senior gift choice.

“I think it would be a good gift if they make it classy,” she said. “It will be a good place for students to congregate.”

In an e-mail to seniors, the Senior Class Gift Steering Committee explained how the gift fits in with the values of the college.

“As we know, part of our Mercyhurst College core values are to be compassionately hospitable and reflectively aware. Our gift of this plaza will support both of these core values as people can gather together, appreciate another and reflect in this area.”

The senior class will donate the cost of construction, which will range in price between $10,000 to $15,000.

“We need the participation from all seniors to pledge toward our gift,” Contrella said.

Seniors who pledge more than $100 will have their names stamped onto bricks.

“As an individual, I don’t think anyone should miss out on the opportunity of leaving your name on a brick to forever be a part of our campus,” Contrella said. “Mercyhurst will forever be a part of us. Now it is time for us to forever become a part of it.”

The senior gift committee hopes the gift will be completed before graduation.

“We hope to see the plaza constructed by May 2011, but clearly this will depend on the weather and when construction can begin,” Contrella said.

JENNIFER MCCURDY

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