Students Team With Facilities To Install Artful Arbor

A unique partnership between the NC State Facilities Division and the Department of Horticultural Science led to students gaining real-world experience while also improving the NC State campus landscape.

Fourteen students in Horticultural Science 272: Design Build Studio worked with the Grounds and Building Services unit within Facilities to install a new arbor outside of Kilgore Hall. 

The course puts students in a real-world consulting role, where the university is the client. In this case, the project was the creation of an artful arbor or gateway outside of Kilgore Hall, which is appropriately the home of the Department of Horticultural Science. 

To boost sustainability, students had design criteria such as using organic and native plant species, incorporating low impact design and proposing durable building materials and the most easily maintainable plants.

The students repurposed material that had been removed from an arbor at Scott Hall. This reduced the financial and environmental impact of producing new material while simultaneously reducing waste sent to landfill. 

The class provided experience in every step of the process, including concept development, research, community feedback, communications with stakeholders, site inventory and plans, cost estimates, construction documents, the siting of underground utilities, installing the arbor and plants.

“This is a great example of a sustainable ‘Think and Do’ project during this trying semester. It shows collaboration and the best in the resilience of the human spirit,” said Dallas Bretzman, a co-instructor for the course.

This year’s project is an extension of a previous student-led landscape project at Kilgore Hall in Fall 2019 when the Design Build course helped resolve a stormwater problem that was causing damage at a new bus stop. That artful garden provided ecosystem benefits, stormwater management and pollinator habitat while also creating an outdoor gathering place for the campus community.

Students and faculty in the course install plants in mid-November as part of the Horticultural Science Design Build course on campus.