Wake Forest will begin new construction projects after the 2022 commencement ceremony, according to a Wake Forest press release. One project will be the extension of Wake Forest Road through Davis Field.
“The extension of the road from the Reynolda Road entrance will improve traffic circulation and continue the iconic arrival experience to campus,” the press release notes.
The new road will improve access to campus and will reduce traffic near ZSR Library, Reynolda Hall and Benson University Center.
These changes will cause the removal of 24 faculty and staff parking spaces. To counteract that, there are plans to add more faculty and staff designated spaces to Lot Q. Additionally, several trees on the upper part of Davis field will be removed to make space for the road; however, the legacy oak trees will remain. To ensure the protection and preservation of these trees, Wake Forest’s Tree Care Advisory Committee is reviewing these plans prior to the start of the construction.
Davis Field is home to several large legacy oak trees and is a popular outdoor event spot on campus. Not only does Wake Forest’s marching band hold practice on this field, but many clubs, Greek organizations and cultural associations use the field for events. This past weekend, the Hindu Student Association and South Asian Student Association held an event for the Holi Festival on the field. The field is also home to a frisbee golf course that spans its entire length.
Many students have expressed anger at the proposed construction, with one Change.org petition garnering more than 500 signatures at the time of publication. The creator of the petition, freshman Aidan Norris, notes in the petition description how important the field is to students even outside of organizational activities as well, calling it “one of the most used leisure spaces [on campus].”
In addition to the use of tents and benches, students often hang hammocks on the trees at the top of the field to do work or relax in nice weather. Junior Molly Anderson commented on the petition that “green spaces on campus hold so much value beyond what they can be developed into.”
“There is no need for the construction, despite aesthetic purposes,” sophomore Camille Dutto said. “I believe it sends the wrong message because we’ll be destroying trees and a portion of the field to make a pretty road with new trees being planted. Yes, it would look pretty for the new arriving students who never knew what was there before, but for all the current students who are future alumni, this would mean a part of our experience and a part of our campus was taken away.”
There are also concerns about the changes in parking.
“There is already a major concern for student parking on campus,” senior Emily Potts said. “Lot Q, among other student lots, is extremely congested during the day. There needs to be something done about increasing parking instead of just [reallocating] spots already there.”
The construction project will also include a new centralized shuttle stop.
“The new centralized shuttle stop will increase efficiency in shuttle service for the Reynolda Campus,” the press release stated. “The transportation hub will improve route times by allowing all shuttles to arrive and depart from a central location.”
The construction of this new shuttle stop includes two new bus shelters outside of Poteat and Kitchen residence halls. Additionally, it will include the addition of a right-hand turn lane entering parking lot N from the University Parkway entrance.
Due to President Susan Wente’s Inauguration this past weekend, the Capital Projects Committee, chaired by Executive Vice President Hof Milam, was unavailable for comment. However, they asked students and faculty to read the press release and the Q&A section below it to address any concerns. The university has not publicly responded to student concerns or the petition.
Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly referred to the roadway that will be rerouted as Reynolda Road instead of Wake Forest Road.