Hearn Plaza archway highlights busy summer at WFU

By Jacob McConnico
August 16, 2006

Nearly 100 years after the entrance arch to Wake Forest College was erected in Wake Forest, N.C., as a gift from the class of 1909, a replica of the stone structure has been built at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem.

The arch construction took university work crews and outside contractors most of the summer to complete, and is one of several changes returning students will notice when classes resume August 23.

A replica of the Wake Forest College arch was built on Hearn Plaza this summer.

Five new granite steps lead up to the arch. "Hearn Plaza" is inscribed in granite beneath the arch. In 2005, Wake Forest trustees made the decision to name the main quadrangle in honor of Thomas K. Hearn, Jr., the University's 12th president, who retired that year. The trustees also decided to erect the arch replica as the entrance to Hearn Plaza. Hearn Plaza and the arch will be dedicated this fall.

The roughly 35-ton concrete arch, designed by Winston-Salem architect Ed Bouldin, sits at the west entrance to Hearn Plaza (the Quad), between Davis and Taylor residence halls. The 17-foot-5-inch structure includes inscriptions on both sides of its top cross-beam that bear the university name, the university seal, the university motto "Pro Humanitate," and three dates.

The dates are 1834, the year the university was founded; 1956, the year of the then-College's move from Wake Forest to Winston-Salem; and 2006, the year the replica arch was erected. In addition, the arch bears a plaque placed there by the class of 2006, in recognition of the gift of the class of 1909. The arch is made of concrete covered with limestone and granite panels.

"For more than a decade, Wake Forest students have strongly supported the idea of placing a replica of the arch on the Reynolda Campus," said Minta A. McNally, Wake Forest's director of alumni activities and a native of Wake Forest, N.C. "The plaque is a very thoughtful way to connect the two alumni classes."

A new seating area will also be added to the west side entrance, near the arch.

Quad improvements started the day after Wake Forest's May 15 commencement ceremony.

Along the east side of the Quad, two entrances have been built on either side of the previously existing entrance. Wrought iron arches with outdoor lamps span the top of the new entrances.

Bill Shotton, the university's construction manager, said east side improvements were done to try to aesthetically match the arch on the west side of the Quad. Options were limited because the east side entrance must be accessible for fire trucks and other emergency vehicles. An arch for the east side was not an option, Shotton said.

Another grassy expanse, Manchester Plaza, received significant attention during the summer. Work crews installed a new seating wall at the end of the plaza, near Gulley Drive, and brick pavers now adorn the area in front of the plaza's outdoor stage. The name "Manchester Plaza" is included in the new wall and in the brick work by the stage.

In addition to the Hearn and Manchester plaza projects, work crews repaved Lot W2, near Townhouse Apartments, and the circle drive at Scales Fine Arts Center, adjacent to Davis Field.

Work was completed in Kitchin and Luter residence halls to upgrade suites to comply with ADA requirements.

The sports medicine area in Reynolds Gymnasium received significant upgrades during the summer, with crews adding three new whirlpools, including one that incorporates an underwater treadmill.

On the upper floor of Salem Hall, work crews made significant improvements to the heating and air conditioning system and accomplished asbestos removal.

In Reynolda Hall, workers renovated offices on the second floor.