New courtyard gives students runaround

At the start of every semester St. John’s students know that the University will always have some sort of a surprise waiting for them, whether it is a new church or athletic field house. The start of this semester was no different. We were presented with a crop circle in front of St. John Hall.

In its own beautification efforts, the University set up a circular patch of the greenest grass ever seen with a criss-cross brick road stretching across it. Granted, it is much nicer than the mess that was there before. Prior to this newly established grassy haven, there was a sad display of a courtyard; a broken up pathway with weather ridden benches surrounding lifeless bushes. Now students can enjoy the outdoors in bolted down lawn chairs under the comfortable shade of some trees. So the change has obviously been for the better, but is it convenient?

The new lawn is fixed in a high traffic area where paths from Marillac, Newman, St. John, and the St. Augustine Halls intersect. The brick roads are positioned to create a straight path from the library to the stairs by Newman Hall and from Newman Hall to the Great Lawn. There is no direct pathway from Marillac Hall to St. John Hall, one of the most common paths for pedestrian students. The lawn disrupts this direct path, and for the sake of preserving the pristine grass (for many feel too guilt ridden to destroy such a fine plot), students have to circle around the lawn with a wrap around walk. “I don’t like that you can’t walk directly from Marillac to St. John’s Hall. It would be better if the brick paths were turned around,” sophomore Melissa Martinez said.

The old courtyard gave you the freedom to walk in any direction you desired.

The construction on the lawn has also raised eyebrows. It is hard to pinpoint exactly what is being built. Simply explained, they are two constructions with four pillars erected on a brick square covered with a grated roof. One can only speculate what they will house.

A patio set of tables and chairs would not be practical considering the roof does not protect you from the elements. Perhaps they will hold the statues that were removed when the lawn was created. Or possibly, they could be wrapped with grape vines for that extra artistic touch. Either way, these faux gazebos serve no realistic purpose except as a conversation of what they could possibly be for.

This observation leads to another glaring question: how much did this cost the school? This was not a necessary change for the campus: rather, it is a matter of mere aesthetics. The only purpose it serves is that it makes the campus look nicer, but there are problems in the school that should be addressed before working at making-over the scenery. For one, climate control within classrooms. St. John Hall has the greatest problem with temperature, lacking air conditioning in the summer and consistent temperature control in the winter. Some rooms in Marillac Hall are subject to the same problem. All students can agree it is hard to concentrate when it is too cold or too hot in a classroom.

Though the University probably means well, the new lawn, placed next to the Great Lawn, serves no concrete purpose and causes more inconveniences than pleasures. If the new courtyard serves only as a place to relax, then some patio furniture on the Great Lawn would suffice. Fixing up the old courtyard is a fine endeavor by itself, though the inconvenient effects of its detouring path far outweigh its beauteous essence.