Brittain Hall tree mystery solved

Photo by Jerod Ray

Though new freshmen may be unaware, the majority of Tech students have noticed the Brittain dining hall courtyard certainly looks different this year.

The new landscape is a result of the implementation of the Brittain Landscape Plan.

This latest plan seeks to fix the water issues surrounding the dining hall area and resulted in a sad reality: the loss of the Brittain courtyard trees.

Although the Brittain Landscape Plan was not fully developed into an achievable action plan until January 2014, the plan was discussed in 2009 alongside the Techwood Drive Streetscape Process.

The plan also included a detailed list of specified criteria: (1) an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) walkway to the front and north entrance of Brittain Dining Hall; (2) a Steam Replacement Project; (3) waterproofing Harris and Cloudman Residence Halls and the courtyard area; (4) potentially adding a 13,000 gallon underground cistern to collect roof water from the dining hall and overflow from Harris and Cloudman residence halls and Bobby Dodd stadium.

To meet the aforementioned criteria, the trees had to succumb to a dreaded fate: destruction.  Moreover, despite the plan’s stringent demands, Tech still did not request a fully detailed Arborist Report for the project.

A single tree, the American Elm, however, did require a comprehensive report, but major limb damage and the rotting of the trunk lead to the Elm’s eventual removal.

Since the other trees were interfering with the power lines, they were poorly pruned leading to their eventual removal as well.

Ultimately, the Brittain Landscape Plan led to the removal of all the trees, as they needed to clear the area for the steam replacement project and cistern.

Even though some people may worry that recent tree disappearances will cause environmental harm, the novel Brittain Landscape Plan seeks to counteract this problem by planting 38 trees in the near future. Currently, the plan proposes planting various types of trees, such as the Persian Ironwood and the Magnolia Butterfly.

Furthermore, the Campus Landscape Master Plan seeks to expand campus greenery through the planting of yet more trees.

They “seek to compensate for the trees lost on this project by [working] with our colleagues to plant additional trees throughout campus.”

Some students still remain apprehensive about the removal of the trees, and they encourage Tech to find another use for the space.

“If they were to do something interesting on the grass, it would be nice. But if Georgia Tech is just going to take shade off of campus, that is not exactly desirable,” said Noah Eggleston, a second-year ME major.

Others feel more at ease with the lack of trees in the Brittain courtyard area.

“I enjoy that you can now actually see the Gothic architecture that is Brittain Dinning Hall. I feel like it is more appreciated now,” Ashlyn Jones, a second-year Architecture major, said.

Some students remain unaffected by the new Brittain landscape.

“I figure the removal of the Brittain trees is a temporary thing, so I am not too concerned,” Hannah Musall, a second-year IAML major, said.