New courtyard welcomes students

$1.9 million Saint Martin’s project drains water while sprucing up campus

lpemberton@theolympian.comSeptember 2, 2013 

Korey Coburn couldn’t resist snapping a quick photo with her phone of the fountain in the new courtyard at Saint Martin’s University as she walked to an afternoon class on Thursday.

“It’s beautiful,” said Coburn, 19, a sophomore. “It’s relaxing — especially at night, when the lights shine on it.”

The European-style courtyard was part of a $1.9 million project to help resolve drainage issues that once threatened the Lacey university’s monastery and Old Main buildings, according to Andrew Moyer, associate treasurer and director of real estate for Saint Martin’s Abbey.

The area, shared by the university and the Abbey, features 34,000 square feet of stamped concrete, a 9-foot double-tiered fountain, native landscaping and seating.

“The whole area was supposed to offer the possibility for welcome,” Moyer said. “Whoever enters it, whatever their purpose is, the goal is for you to feel welcome.”

In April, the courtyard was dedicated to the Rev. Alfred Hulscher, who has been a member of the Abbey’s monastic community for nearly 60 years and serves as its prior. He has served in a variety of roles at the university and its former high school, including chaplain, principal, teacher, assistant librarian and registrar.

Hulscher also is a member of Saint Martin’s Board of Trustees, serving as its chair for four years.

“Father Alfred was the pivotal person to develop the idea — and to persuade everyone to buy into the idea — of renovating the courtyard,” said Alan Tyler, director of facilities and capital project management for the university. “His leadership allowed us to pick the right people to develop the entire project.”

In order to prepare for the new courtyard, crews removed more than 3,000 cubic yards of dirt from the hilltop and replaced it with 1,260 cubic yards of concrete stamped with three different patterns. The design included a system of galleries that collect and direct storm water to a pond north of Abbey Way.

The courtyard was part of a larger project at Saint Martin’s known as the north campus improvement project that began in 2011, according to Moyer. It included resurfaced roads, sidewalks, lighting, landscaping and other upgrades.

“It’s very pretty,” said Carly Adams, 17, who was visiting the Saint Martin’s campus last week from the Portland area. “I really like the fountain, and I like how it’s set up. It’s really peaceful and welcoming.”

Lisa Pemberton: 360-754-5433 lpemberton@theolympian.com @Lisa_Pemberton

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