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Middle Path Rebuilding Project Now in Testing Stage

By Rebecca Dann

Following the Board of Trustees approval last spring, the College is testing a type of stabilized gravel on three arterial paths that branch off Middle Path. The plan aims to improve campus accessibility while maintaining the Paths historic and symbolic aesthetic.

The three trial sites one near Olin Library, one between Hanna Residence Hall and Old Kenyon and one between Leonard Residence Hall and Old Kenyon are made of a 6-inch base layer of compacted gravel topped with a 4-inch layer of the stabilized gravel. Each walkway contains a different blend of stone colors and sizes specific to each path, according to Chief Business Officer Mark Kohlman.

The trial zones will be open for the entire academic year to find a mixture that best survives the wear and tear of four seasons and to determine which paths stone color most closely matches Middle Paths. We picked the sections where we thought we would get good traffic and exposure, Kohlman said.

Stabilizing Middle Path is just one part of a larger project undertaken by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates Inc. This landscape architecture firm has partnered with the College in the past and was approved for the project last year by the Buildings and Grounds Committee of the Board of Trustees. The firms proposal also discusses better ways to maintain the health of the trees lining Middle Path, how the College can tackle drainage problems and many other issues. If approved, the full restoration of the Path will be a three-year project.

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