Koi Pond and Tree to be Removed


Courtesy of Alyssa Moore

Alyssa Moore, Centurion Staff

Faculty and students expressed concerns after the announcement that Newtown campus’ outdoor remodel will result in the removal of the beloved koi pond and large tree outside of Grupp Hall.

The campus is currently undergoing a new renovation project to update the school’s outdoor features. A big portion of land in center of the campus has been blocked off since the beginning of the fall semester. As the weeks go by, students and faculty watch the construction crews move in to begin remodeling the landscape.

The executive director of the Physical Plant, Martin Snyder, has confirmed that almost everything in the gated area will be removed.

“Nearly everything in the center of campus will be removed during the renovation project: walkways, lighting, site furnishings, plant materials, and the water garden,” Snyder explained. “The project is to update walkways, lighting, and other landscape features.”

The removal of the koi pond within the water garden that sits behind the Cooper Homestead has raised concerned. The koi pond is home to many koi fish that the college students and staff have grown fond of. It is the only outdoor feature on the campus that houses wildlife.

“Any time we have a little bit of the natural world included in our environment it is good. There is a term ‘forest bath’ which suggests that a visit to nature is a soothing and peaceful experience ,” said Bucks Professor Annette Conn.

Construction plans do include a new vision for the koi pond area.

“The water garden will be replaced with a more contemporary water feature with lighting and seating,” Snyder said. “It will be more fitting with the overall plan.”

Snyder verified that fish will not be put into the new water feature, “No, no fish. We have some folks that have volunteered to give the fish a new home,” he said.

Professor and historic preservationist for the college, Matthew Metcalf, also confirmed that the big tree that sits between Grupp Hall and the school’s library entrance will be removed from the heart of the campus to make room for the landscaping project.

Metcalf explained that, “Many of the original buildings at Newtown (Tyler Hall, Hicks Art Center, and the Cottages) were part of the Tyler’s estate and we have preserved them as a way to honor the history and save money. History is a part of the Bucks County community’s identity and the college has always made an effort to preserve and honor the Tyler legacy. If the trees are part of that historic landscape, then losing the trees mean losing part of that story.”

Metcalf also looked into if the tree was planted by the original owners of the college, the Tyler family, but has not found any evidence.

“The tree between Grupp and the Library is a beautiful addition to the campus. Unless it is diseased and needs to be cut down for safety reasons, why would we want to destroy it,” added Conn.
Students started a petition to stop the removal of the tree. Which can be signed at http://chng.it/c2Ty5QqC.

As of now, crews have cleared the land within the gated area. The project is aimed to be completed by summer 2020.