New sidewalk provides safe passageway to 4-H Children's Gardens

This past summer, the parking lot adjacent to the Michigan 4-H Children’s Gardens underwent construction to install a new safe passage sidewalk.

A photo of the new side walk at the 4-H Children's Garden.
Last August, a new safe passage sidewalk was constructed between the Michigan 4-H Children’s Gardens and the Plant and Soil Science Building providing a direct route between the garden and the building.

This new sidewalk provides a safe, designated path for students and garden visitors, who previously had to walk through the parking lot to access the Curiosity Classroom and the Indoor 4-H Children’s Garden in the Plant and Soil Science Building. Now garden visitors, either with school or family, have a direct route to the garden from the building and vice versa. The construction of this project started on July 8 and was completed on August 3.

“Providing a safe passage for our visitors from the building to the gardens helps us to ensure the best experience possible,” said Jessica Wright, Michigan 4-H Children’s Gardens education coordinator. “Safety is a top priority and we feel that this new pathway shows the public that the gardens are a safe place to learn and enjoy the beauty of nature.”

MSU Infrastructure Planning and Facilities (IPF) completed the construction in August, just in time for the start of the new school year. The goal was to design the sidewalk to be more accessible for student visitors, especially for the school bus drop-off zone. With the new changes in effect, students no longer have to cross in front of cars in the parking lot.

“This new arrangement allows a more direct access for the barrier-free users to a safe travel-way to the gardens without having to cross a vehicular lane,” according to Andrew Linebaugh, MSU IPF planner and inspector analyst. Denise Nelson, a fourth-grade teacher at Bennet Woods Elementary in Okemos, has brought over 1,100 students fromher classes over the past 15 years to the gardens for hands-on educational field trips.

“The 4-H Children’s Gardens provides terrific curriculum for the plant study unit we are required to teach,” Nelson said. “We have enjoyed how the curriculum has evolved based on new science standards and it is hands on.”

This October was no different, Nelson’s class spent three days in the gardens. She was excited about the new sidewalk and the increased safety for her students. “The sidewalk is very beneficial to their safety. It always concerned me that we had to walk in the road with students,” Nelson said.

In addition to having a new sidewalk, certain sidewalk areas were leveled to minimize trip hazards. This makes the gardens safer and more accessible throughout the facility. 

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