The observer misses the sense of anticipation that came with the construction of the KFC Yum! Center and the Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium for the basketball and football programs last summer. So he drives out to Belknap Campus to see what’s going down at the University of Louisville. He is not disappointed.

The surprise is all the work being done on the Oval in front of the Grawmeyer Administration Building where The Thinker is overseeing the beginning of the final phase of a multi-million-dollar beautification effort. The site is a real mess right now, occupied by back hoes, piles of dirt, and construction trucks. No green grass or flowers for a while.

The design of the Oval will reflect the vision of famed parks designer Frederick Law Olmsted and includes replacing the roadway surface with bricks, lighting of the Grawemeyer Hall exterior; replacing the building and Oval steps, installing an irrigation system, enhancing existing landscaping and replacing the existing sod.

The Thinker will be removed temporarily as the project continues. Parking lots are accessible but the circular drive in front of the administration building is partially closed. The project is being done by Marrillia Design & Development, based in Lexington (better do a good job).

The first part of the project, of course, was the new entrance featuring granite structures and fountains designed by Rowland Design and Carman Landscape Architecture. The lighting and fountains are currently turned off because of the other construction work.

Rowland Design Photo

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By Charlie Springer

Charlie Springer is a former Louisville editor and sportswriter, a public affairs consultant, a UofL grad and longtime fan.