Construction has begun on Sir Isaac Brock Plaza, the prime site in front of Schmon Tower that will this fall become the home to a new bronze sculpture of the University’s namesake.
Over the next two months the project, which is fully funded by a donation to the University, will change the look and feel of the area that is essentially the University’s “front door”, and will include new pedestrian routes, bus stops and of course the double-life-sized sculpture of Maj. Gen. Sir Isaac Brock.
It will also make the area more of a meeting place where people gather or just linger.
“There are no people here,” Brock Facilities Management project director Scott Roper said of the grounds in front of the Tower. “People are all inside at Brock, and it’s easy to walk through Walker Complex and Welch Hall … and go back over to Mackenzie Chown and bypass this completely. But if we put something here that will occupy this space and give people a reason to be out here, I think it could transform all this.”
Workers poured the 6.5 x 4-metre foundation for the sculpture last week. It will be raised a half metre and provide a base for the statue, surrounded by gardens and benches.
“The donor (longtime Brock supporter and former Board of Trustees Chair David Howes) doesn’t want to create a figurehead, as much as he wants to reinforce a sense of tradition for the University on a social scale and for students to understand the basis on which this University was founded,” Roper said.
The $1.2-million sculpture is scheduled to arrive in October and will be officially unveiled this fall as part of the University’s 50th anniversary celebrations.
“Every angle was not only really nice, but it was fantastic,” said Roper, who saw a three-foot replica in December. “This statue expresses character.
“(It) is better than I thought we’d ever get.”
In addition to the sculpture, the bus stop along Sir Isaac Brock Blvd. in front of Schmon Tower will also be renovated. Workers will replace the asphalt with concrete and expand the area in which students and staff waits for buses.
A crosswalk will also be added connecting the current sidewalk from Taro Hall, across Sir Isaac Brock Blvd., to the Brock sculpture platform.
It’s all about enhancing the experience, as well as making it safer, Roper said. Construction should be completed by the end of August.
“It’s the centre of the university, buildings on two sides … this is a beautiful place,” Roper said. “It should have people.”