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No new summer construction plans

According to Robert Kellner of Auxiliary Services, VSU will not initiate any new construction during the summer, and instead will focus on completion of already existing projects such as the renovation of Langdale Hall’s C-wing.
This comes as good news for environmental advocates who feel that past construction has negatively affected native animals’ habitats.
“Trees being cut down affects not just birds but other animals that use the tree for a food resource or area in which to rest or nest,” Dr. Colleen McDonough, VSU professor of animal behavior, said.
In relation to preserving VSU’s natural habitat, McDonough also said that she would like to see more replanting of native trees.
“Palm trees can’t compare to live oaks for shade and resources provided,” said McDonough.
VSU’s trees are a natural habitat for the red-tailed hawk and other species of birds, as well as squirrels and a variety of insects.
Other VSU biology professors also believe in the preservation of VSU’s tree canopy. In 2007, Bradley Bergstrom, professor of conservation biology, presented a petition to the Valdosta City Council for a revision of the City Tree Ordinance.
“The revision passed, and it was an improvement, although it did not go far enough, in my opinion, to actually preserve the tree canopy. At best, it is designed to slow the loss of the tree canopy,” said Bergstrom.
Additionally, according to Bergstrom, the ordinance does not require the city take an inventory of its urban trees, meaning that it is impossible to measure how many trees remain and at what rate we are losing them.
Aside from a hindered tree canopy, Dr. David Bechler, professor of behavioral ecology and head of the biology department, believes VSU does a reasonable job in maintaining populations surrounding the creek running through the middle of campus.
“The creek, while modified by past activities, still has a lot of habitat variation in it such as aquatic plants, pools, riffles, sand bars, and gravel beds. This all is important of a variety of different species,” Bechler said.
VSU’s creeks are inhabited by water snakes, lizards, frogs, fish, and insects and other invertebrates.
Although there will not be any new construction at VSU this summer, students are still waiting on the results of a survey they took in February to determine the feasibility of adding extra residential halls.
“We are still reviewing the data related to the feasibility,” said Kellner. “Once a decision is made to build a new residence hall, the Board of Regents have established a set of due diligence guidelines that must be adhered to prior to requesting permission to build additional housing.”
Aside from the Langdale renovations, there are also a collection of other projects that will be ongoing throughout the summer. As students may have already noticed, the north side of the Education Center has been fenced off for the past few weeks. According to a VSU release in January, this area will eventually become the foundation for the Jennett Lecture Hall, which is expected to be completed during the Fall 2010 semester.

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