05:40 AM

​Advisory team weighs in on renovation of Mirror Lake district

A group working to guide how the new Mirror Lake should look and function is closer to finishing their work.

An advisory council made up of faculty, students and staff held two meetings in the last two months to offer input on a new look for the iconic landmark.

“What I’m excited about is this is a model for how a more natural landscape, a sustainable landscape, could be developed on campus,” said advisory council member Daniel Struve, professor emeritus of horticulture.

One of the goals for the new Mirror Lake is to create a more natural and sustainable lake. The stone and concrete liner that forms the base of the current lake will be removed.

The design currently under review includes more landscaping around the edges of the water and a gradual slope into the lake to make it safer. The depth is expected to be between four and five feet.

One concern raised at the meeting included the routine maintenance needed to keep the lake and surrounding area healthy.

“I liked the idea of someone taking ownership of this,” said Matt Davies, assistant professor of soil and plant community restoration.

Davies suggested the university could establish a graduate-student position to oversee maintenance of Mirror Lake as part of a living classroom.

The council also discussed adding signs around the lake for an educational benefit. Ideas included signs that contain QR codes that link to more information about the area’s transformation or about the history of Mirror Lake.

“From an educational standpoint, are there specific messages around the lake that we want to speak to?” asked University Landscape Architect Steve Volkmann, who is helping to lead the advisory group. 

The advisory council will meet one more time to review and offer input before design and construction plans are finalized.

Currently, Mirror Lake is empty and under construction. The university plans to spend about $6 million to restore the lake and some of the surrounding area.

Construction crews also continue work in the overall Mirror Lake district, which includes renovating parts of Pomerene Hall. The project is scheduled for completion in 2018.