Map | ID#:
Frels and Wilson demolished
Nov. 8, 2007:
Bearkat Plaza opens
Tree of Lights moves to plaza
Telephone Services building demolished
First university motto signage added to wall
Aug. 25. 2014:
Second university motto signage added to wall
Bearkat Plaza is the outdoor area in the central part of campus bordered by (to the north and moving clockwise) the Lowman Student Center (LSC), Smith-Hutson Business Administration Building, Lee Drain Building (LDB), and Marks Administration Building.
The earliest attmepts at making this a pedestrian-friendly area came in the early 1980s when roadways and surface parking were eradicated from central campus:
- Avenue I no longer ran uninterrupted through the middle of campus.
- Avenue J was removed altogether.
- The parking lots east of the Administration and Education buildings were removed and landscaped.
- The stretch of 19th Street between the Lowman Student Center and Frels Apartments was converted into an area known today as the LSC Mall.
- The Rix and Houston apartments were demolished, replaced by the Drain Building. The resulting space between the Drain Building and Wilson Apartments was known as the LDB Mall.
The Alumni Fountain was installed at the western end of the LSC Mall area in the early 1980s. An Alumni Garden was added between the Alumni Fountain and LSC in 2002. During the summer of 2005 the Blatchley Bell Tower was built east of the Marks Administration Building.
The Frels, Wilson, and Post Office buildings were razed in December 2006 to prepare for the next phase in the mall enlargement project. Bearkat Plaza officially opened in November 2007. In August 2008, the Telephone Services building was removed thereby fully completing the expanded mall area.
The plaza is considered seperate from the LDB Mall and LSC Mall areas.
Since December 2007 the plaza has been the location of the annual Tree of Lights ceremony.
An aerial from the late 1970s shows the central part of campus. The predominance of pavement in the heart of campus would be gone within a decade.
Signage in 2007 shows what the completed plaza will look like. According to this image either the Telephone Services building was to remain as-is, remained but was remodeled, or a new structure was to be included at the plaza's northwest corner. That, and the campus maintains a number of fuschia-coloured trees.
The arbors found at the southwest corner of Bearkat Plaza.
In 2009 (or so) the university motto was spelled out on a wall on the western edge of the plaza. It has since became the place to gather when told to "Meet at the motto."