Students design and construct fence for campus garden

October 27, 2014
Fence installation
Campus garden fence

PLATTEVILLE, Wis. — A decorative hardwood fence, designed and constructed by two University of Wisconsin-Platteville sculpture students, was recently installed between McGregor and Royce halls to frame the space dedicated to the university’s new student edible garden, which contains vegetables, fruits and flowers raised organically. The space also includes a garden shed constructed by Platteville High School students and UW-Platteville project management student Courtney Alexander.

The fence project was directed by Peter Flanary, art professor at UW-Platteville, and was funded by the university’s Pioneer Academic Center for Community Engagement and Chris Jones Construction of Cuba City, Wis.

The edible garden project was conducted by UW-Platteville’s Office of Sustainability and the Green Campus Project student organization at UW-Platteville. The shed was funded primarily through the university Segregated University Fee Allocation Commission.

From start to finish, the fence project took six months. In April, Amy Seeboth-Wilson, sustainability coordinator at UW-Platteville, approached Flanary to see if any students in his art courses would like to design and build decorative fencing created out of sustainable materials to frame the garden space. Two of the students in his Advanced Sculpture course immediately expressed interest and began working on the project.

Scott Hendrix, from Harvard, Ill., adapted the fence design from a sketch he found of a four-sided fence surrounding a garden. Robert Jinkins, from Rewey, Wis., assisted him with the sketches. When the sketches were complete, Hendrix and Flanary went to Tri Star Pallets in Cobb, Wis., where they picked up a truckload of mixed hardwoods the company had donated to them instead of turning them into mulch. ProBuild in Platteville donated additional fence supplies.

Working from the design sketches, Hendrix, Jinkins and Flanary constructed the fence out of the hardwood panels and stainless steel, a process that took about 10 weeks.

When the fence was completed, UW-Platteville’s Campus Facilities and Planning dug holes for the posts. A volunteer crew including Flanary, Jinkins, Melanie Nanke, Nick Martin, Tyler Potter, Ryan Hettinger, Jacqueline Komoda and Matthew Lindberg installed the poles and fence panels. Once installed, the fence was stained on the exterior side. In the near future, the interior side of the fence will be painted and stones will be placed as capitals on the tops of the fence posts.

“The fence is an artistic device that frames and defines the space and the forms in it,” said Flanary. “Working together, we have created forms in space that have interest. This space is now a gathering place. It has gone from a place people ‘pass through’ to a place they can linger in.”

“This PACCE project enabled Scott and Robert to gain first-hand design, construction and installation experience and learn how to engage with members of the university and members of the broader community,” said Flanary. “I challenge students in the sculpture course to create sculptural forms that are meaningful – forms that affect and engage a place and people. With all of us working together, I think we accomplished that.”

“I am so excited by the help we have received from across campus to make this space possible,” said Seeboth-Wilson. “This garden creates a space for students to experiment with food production, be creative and build community. We encourage any students to reach out to our office if they have projects that they might want to build or do to use or enhance the space anytime.”
 

Contact: Peter Flanary, Department of Performing and Visual Arts, 608-342-1143, flanaryp@uwplatt.edu

Written by: Laurie Hamer, College of Liberal Arts and Education, 608-342-6191, hamerl@uwplatt.edu

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