Like most Florida two-year schools, Indian River Community College’s architecture looks like the campus was mainly built in the 1960s and ‘70s, which it was. But this Treasure Coast college is different: the campus is perfectly manicured, boasts a variety of indigenous fauna, and is completely absent of even a speck of trash. IRCC earns Florida Leader’s “Most Beautiful Campus” award for 2002.
“When I walk behind the president, vice president, or just about any teacher and they see a candy paper on the path, they’ll pick it up and put it in the trash,” says Michelle Abaldo, director of institutional advancement. “Students and others see them doing it and get in the spirit. The members of custodial staff are part of what’s important to the institution. It’s not just a cosmetic clean-up. There’s a lot of pride in the appearance.”Abaldo says a “Pride Award” is given annually to the department that exhibits exceptional pride in its work—members of the custodial department and buildings and grounds team, led by Carl Warnock, director of physical plant, have earned honors in 1993, 1995, and 1999--more often than any other staff division.Abaldo says IRCC’s main Ft. Pierce campus has earned commendation as a “certified Florida yard” for using climate-appropriate vegetation. Landscaping touches include three magnolia trees anchoring the center of campus, along with a butterfly garden in the sun by the swimming pool. “They’re labeled by the biological name, which ties into the science classes,” Abaldo says. “Some trees have been planted in memory of deceased employees,” she says. “We also have bricks at the center of campus. Anyone who has been with the campus 20 years or more gets their names engraved. We announce that they’re ‘bricked’ at the trustees meetings.”
The Health Science Center probably is IRCC’s “showcase” structure, a state-of-the art medical teaching facility unveiled in 1999. Other key administrative and classroom buildings feature a harmony of colors—the traditional academic red-brick theme but enlivened with vibrant blue, which adds a contemporary flair, Abaldo says.“All of these things indicate pride in the college,” Abaldo says. “It’s an expression of the spirit of excellence.” Contact Abaldo at firstname.lastname@example.org, Warnock at email@example.com, or visit www.ircc.cc.fl.us.
“Every year, our campus FACC chapter has a clean-up prior to the start of school-- we pick up all garbage and cigarette butts. It’s a whole day thing, Then we have a pizza party and the president lets us have a few extra hours off. So we have a spic-and-span clean campus when students come back.”Contact Yarbrough at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Best-Looking Campus—Public Universities
UNF’s development around a hub, like a great wheel, with a series of wooded trails circling classrooms, residence halls, and administrative structures. “That’s the first thing you see,” Dundon says. “You see the nature area, lake, and trails.”
Florida Leader repeatedly has honored UNF for its campus beauty over the years, but despite the recent addition of a new Fine Arts Center, which instantly became a visual landmark, and groundbreaking for the new Science & Engineering Building for laboratories and classrooms, the serene setting has remained relatively undisturbed. “The network of trails hasn’t increased dramatically, but the infrastructure is better. We’re increased the number of boardwalk trails,” Dundon says. “We use the nature area as a kind of biology lab. We have one faculty member and students who have been studying mosquitoes and determining and classifying them. And we have other faculty in the health department who have used nature to research Lyme disease. They use it more as a living laboratory. It’s used extensively by hundreds of schools, so it services the community.”
Dundon says President Anne Hopkins has made a concerted effort to beautify the campus since she became president. “And it does show in a number of ways, including improved landscaping, more park benches, more trees, and a cleaner campus,” Dundon says. “However, her major contribution to the natural setting, which is not as visible to most students, is her insistence that no roads be built through a nature area. A revised master plan removed a road that had been planned through an undeveloped part of campus and preserves this land for nature studies by faculty and staff."Winner
At Rollins College, it’s hard to figure out where the college ends and town of Winter Park begins. The city was founded in 1881, with Rollins first opening its doors in 1885. Both the city and campus were designed by New Englanders with all parks, green spaces, and civic buildings in the center. Rollins retains that design, says Ann Marie Varga, director of public relations.
“The campus has the same sense of community,” she says. “We have a central green, which is a gathering place. The campus is also nestled on Lake Virginia, which affords you artistic qualities and beautiful sunsets. Historically, the campus turned its back on the lake, but in the last decade, much effort has been made to create new vistas to the lake and enhance existing ones.” Varga says Rollins recently added two new lakeside gazebos, complete with electricity and internet access for laptop computers.”
Rollins may be one of the few examples where development has enhanced the aesthetic value of campus. The new Cornell Campus Center is the school’s showpiece structure, featuring a breathtaking view of the lake from the dining area. Also, the new Harold & Ted Alfond Sports Center is state-of-the-art. “The addition of these facilities hasn’t hindered campus beauty,” Varga says. “We’ve had architects from all over come here and tell us that it’s outstanding.”
The Spanish Mediterranean architecture throughout the Rollins campus represents the Florida style and climate in the days before air conditioning, featuring breezeways and open-air hallways. “Rollins is a themed campus,” Varga says. To complement the architecture, Grounds Manager David Gennaro uses both indigenous and naturalized plants, including azaleas and camellias, as well as hibiscus, iris, birds of paradise, and bougainvillea.
Florida Leader noticed major strides over the past two years in the overall landscaping beauty, which Varga says is not coincidental. “Three to four years ago, we began to simplify the landscape to make it easier to maintain. For example, plants were put in their proper place [sunlight vs. shade] and less plant variety was used in the same plant beds,” she says. “Seventy percent of our irrigation comes from Lake Virginia, which helps with water conservation."
“It’s a pedestrian campus. Cars aren’t a big part of campus and you can get around by foot,” Varga says. “The natural part of campus reduces stress. We have a balance of green space and architecture. There’s been great attention given to keeping the campus beautiful and manicured—the facilities have been enhanced in the last decade.”
As Dean of Admissions Dave Erdmann says, “Perspective parents and students are particularly impressed with the safe, community feeling of campus because there’s no main road that runs through campus and the ‘peninsula’ that’s formed by Lake Virginia’s presence on two sides.”Contact Varga at email@example.com or 407-646-2159, or visit www.rollins.edu.
Bosse says Flagler students actually live and work in a museum. “They eat in a grand dining hall which features stained glass windows by Louis Comfort Tiffany, the interior decorator of the old hotel, and beneath stunning allegorical murals by George W. Maynard,” she says. “They attend lectures in the Flagler Room, once the grand ballroom, where a gold and onyx clock designed by Thomas Alva Edison stands as one of the first examples of its type in a public building. All around them are terra cotta and tile representations of whimsy and inspiration by John Carrere and Thomas Hastings, the two young architects who designed the Spanish Renaissance Revival masterpiece, which opened in 1888.”
Bosse says new additions, such as the $13-million Proctor Library, blend with the 13 other historic structures. “The effect is one of visual unity yet functional for the modern student,” she says. While the gilt and the frescos are beautiful and the 75 Tiffany stained glass windows are breathtaking, Flagler presents a welcoming campus with grassy areas, park benches, an outdoor pavilion, and a 200-year-old oak tree around which students congregate, study, and socialize. The effect is one of harmony, blending past and present.” WHOJContact Bosse at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.flagler.edu.
At tiny Beacon College in Leesburg, President Deborah Brodbeck personally knows each of the school’s six graduates each semester. She tailors her commencement remarks to talk about each student’s strengths and victories and also reminisces with funny and heartfelt stories. For many of Beacon’s 62 students, all of whom have learning disabilities, commencement means more than any other achievement so far in their lives, Brodbeck says. So Beacon’s commencement is packed with 200 parents, friends, relatives, faculty, staff, and fellow students.Contact Broadbeck at email@example.com and Yentes at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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