First-time students to Fresno City College may not fully appreciate the new shaded north parking lot, re-landscaped functional west lawn, new shaded open-air courtyard south of the Student Services building and the relocation of the Rocky the Ram topiary. However, when construction is completed, returning students will appreciate the utility of the new construction and its openness. Once the trees mature, future students will appreciate the spring, summer, fall and winter colors of these deciduous trees and evergreen shrubs.
The new parking lot K, located north of the Old Administration Building, will now have one main entrance, a service entrance, some additional parking spaces and new high-efficient lighting.
The redesigned west lawn will now have a colorful and utilitarian function for students. A concrete half-circle walkway connects the southwest and northwest corners of the Old Administration Building. There is a 28-foot red-brick bench located at the apex of the half-circle walkway.
On the west side of the bench is a bi-connection of a concrete walkway that connects to the half-circular walkway from Maroa Avenue. East of the brick bench is attached a flat half-circle concrete stage or presentation area. There is a new walkway that starts from the sidewalk intersection of Maroa and Weldon avenues that snakes and then connects with the walkway adjacent to the northwest end of the Old Administration Building. Another new walkway is a part of the western end of the new parking lot K that enters from Weldon and also connects to the northern end of the half-circle walkway.
There are now five walkways that connect with the half circle. The half-circle concrete walkway and connecting walkways will all be lit by 13 newly installed light fixtures. These light fixtures will be of the same period design that illuminates the perimeter of the OAB.
The new courtyard area south of the Student Services Building and north of the library will have new shade trees and student-friendly functional concrete structures. As you enter the courtyard from the west, the walkway is framed by six Japanese Pagoda trees, also called Scholar trees. After passing these trees you can see Rocky the Ram Pyracantha topiary. The topiary was moved to this center west location. The topiary sets in the middle of two sidewalks and one newly constructed reddish concrete band east of the topiary. Then there are three separate horizontal half-circled notched seating walls.
Starting from the south and going north, one is notched north, the other notched south and the last one notched north. Within the well of each of these seating structures are 26 Society Garden shrubs, one Scarlet Maple tree, and eight Dwarf Bottlebrush shrubs. Next are three reddish-colored concrete bands that are separated by two gray concrete bands. At the center of these bands is a raised two-foot concrete pedestal suited for seating, rallies and presentations. To the south framing these concrete bands are two serpentine notched concrete seating walls. Next we see that the three notched half-circle structures, shrubs and trees are repeated.
There was a discussion about the orientation of the Rocky the Ram topiary. The administration decided to have the Ram oriented to face the Student Services Building. Pete Twenty, the construction supervisor with Marko Construction Group Inc., wanted the Ram oriented facing west.
The orientation of the topiary can be symbolically interpreted in one of two ways. One, if the topiary was facing west, would welcome new students beginning their academic quest at Fresno City College, and it would signal that the spirit of Rocky the Ram would always be with those leaving the college to transfer to a four-year university or entering the job market. Second, with the topiary facing the Student Services Building, Rocky the Ram could be saying that a large number of students will need all the student services they can get because the average student GPA is 2.36, the graduation rate is 18% and the Fresno City College six-year transfer rate is 43%.
I agree with Pete!
First-time students to Fresno City College may not fully appreciate the new shaded north parking lot, re-landscaped functional west lawn, a new shaded open air courtyard and the relocation of the Rocky the Ram topiary.
Homer Gee Greene Jr. is an educational adviser at Fresno City College, a freelance writer, and the founding member of ScholarDev LLC.