Parkland College to begin construction of new courtyard
CHAMPAIGN — Parkland College will begin the construction of a new courtyard in May.
The courtyard will be located in an outside area between the Dodds Athletic Complex and the school’s X Wing, which officials said is currently unsafe due to deteriorating pavement and drainage issues.
The project is estimated to be completed by the end of the upcoming fall semester, said Jim Bustard, Parkland’s physical plant director.
The courtyard was initially designed in 2020 but could not be built due to a lack of funding, according to Bustard.
“We only have a couple of different funding mechanisms, so we had to prioritize a couple of our other projects,” Bustard said.
The project is now possible due to a tax levy from the Champaign County district for protection, health and safety purposes, he said.
The courtyard will feature a fountain, wheelchair-accessible ramps and plants designed by the school’s horticulture staff.
A committee of students, teachers and staff was formed to collaborate on the space, Bustard said. Their goal was to make the courtyard attractive for visitors, as well, he said.
Ketsia Nzeza, a University of Illinois student who often does homework at Parkland, said the new courtyard will give students a change of scenery.
“Sometimes, you do not want to feel like you are on campus to do homework,” Nzeza said. “So, I think it will give students the opportunity to go study in a different environment.”
Nzeza said she is glad that there will be ramps to make the area accessible since it will promote inclusion and make everyone feel welcome to use the courtyard.
Amairane Martinez, a freshman at Parkland College, said the courtyard will serve as a motivator for students.
“There are times when you do not want to do homework inside,” Martinez said. “I think having a nice area outside will motivate students to actually do work. I know that it will motivate me.”