The new sculpture garden at Ganser Library will promote the University’s commitment to sustainability by showcasing Pennsylvania’s native plants. Native plants provide food and habitat for native animals and do not require special care or resources since they are already adapted to Pennsylvania’s climate. Sub-gardens will further showcase the various uses, taxonomy, habitats and evolution of native plants.

Rudbeckia hirta var angustifolia or Black-eyed Susan is one example of a native plant to Pennsylvania.

It’s all part of the renovations at Ganser Library, which will begin this summer. Most of the changes will occur inside the building, but some of the biggest changes will be happening outside its walls.

Stretching from George Street, in front of the library, to the library’s parking lot, will be a sculpture/reading garden.

“The University wants to have the cultural influence of the library expand past its physical borders. That is where the idea of the sculpture/reading garden came from. We want the community to interact and learn about nature as well as experience the artistic touches that the garden offers,” said Erin Dorney, outreach librarian.

During the fall 2010 semester, two classes contributed substantially to the final designs.

The plants to be used in the garden were hand-picked by assistant biology professor Dr. Christopher Hardy’s “Plant Systematics” class. The final design is a compilation of the best designs of his 22 students.

“We wanted to design this garden with hopes that, in the future, classes will be able to walk through the garden and study the various plant species from an evolutionary, ecological and environmental perspective,” said Hardy.

Assistant professor of art Line Bruntse’s advanced sculpture classes have been creating concepts for seating areas in the garden, referencing native plants and geologic periods. The seating areas were conceived to be places for flexible learning in smaller groups, reflecting the conceptual direction for the library renovation. Through models and drawings, students worked through their ideas and presented their concepts.

In addition to ideas of how to incorporate sculpture into the garden, the sculpture students’ designs include an outdoor amphitheater; a pergola, or an open gazebo, shaded collaborative seating area and individual seating for the garden.

Both classes traveled to Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, Pa., for design ideas and inspiration.

“Historical references, landscape engineering, issues of public safety, material selection and cost management are only some of the complex issues the students are dealing with for the project, which is a great learning experience for the students,” said Bruntse.

Through the duration of the library’s renovation, updates on the progress will be available to keep the University community well-informed. The University hopes to have the renovation completed by fall 2013. For the most up-to-date information about the renovation, visit the Millersville University Library Blog

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