North Central College's new Sesquicentennial Walkway is open to foot traffic and will serve as a pedestrian thoroughfare through the heart of the downtown Naperville campus.
The Sesquicentennial Walkway is a 16-foot-wide path extending between Jefferson and Benton avenues and located in a former alleyway between Brainard and Loomis streets.
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"The walkway was widened and rebuilt so it becomes the main north-south thoroughfare through campus," says Mike Hudson, North Central's assistant vice president for business operations.
The environmentally-friendly design of the Sesquicentennial Walkway features permeable brick pavers, which will aid in stormwater infiltration and collection. The college received an $118,800 grant from the DuPage County Stormwater Management Division to include sustainability features.
Water will drain into several new rain gardens, which will be planted with native grasses and plants. These areas will increase the amount of open green space on campus and capture stormwater runoff, filtering suspended solids and nutrients that otherwise would drain into the West Branch of the DuPage River.
The project includes improved energy-efficient, lantern-style LED lighting and enhanced pedestrian crossings at Van Buren and Benton avenues. Overhead utility lines were buried as part of the project and new seating areas were installed.
Significant landscaping has been installed, though final landscaping will be completed in the spring and a dedication of the Sesquicentennial Walkway is still to be scheduled.
Permeable brick pavers also were installed in the newly redesigned Van Buren parking lot, which was expanded by 16 spaces to a total of 40. The south end of the Sesquicentennial Walkway, near residence halls, features a plaza.
The Sesquicentennial Walkway is part of the college's Legacy Project that includes the Riverwalk Gateway, a newly enhanced connection between the college and Naperville's Riverwalk. The Riverwalk Gateway was dedicated in late October by North Central President Harold Wilde.
"(The Sesquicentennial Walkway) and the Riverwalk Gateway represent two long-standing 'dreams' on Hal's wish list for the college. We're thrilled that both projects could be completed before his retirement," Paul Loscheider, vice president for business affairs, and Rick Spencer, vice president for institutional advancement, said in an email message to the campus community.