SMU Unveils New Green Space on Earth Day
According to Earth Day Network, green schools:
- Reduce teacher sick days and student absenteeism
- Increase test scores and staff productivity
- Rebalance social inequity
- Enhance student motivation in both the short and long term
- Provide an educationally rich setting
Oakland's concentration of green buildings and space makes it one of the greenest cities in the nation, according to the City of Oakland, and Samuel Merritt University (SMU) is adding to our community's reputation. Now SMU students have a new green space to study, relax, and even play hacky sac and touch-football next to the Peralta Pavilion building.
The space was designed by Suma Landscaping, Inc., a full service East Bay landscape company that was voted Best in the Bay 2010 by Bay List. "We have a creative and cutting edge design team assisting our clients in the planning and translation of their landscape vision," explains Suma President, Susan Frank.
Suma Landscaping removed the concrete parking lot and added 5000 sq. ft. of lawn surrounded by nearly two dozen flowering trees, shrubs and mounds. Benches, bike racks, a sidewalk walkway, and a handicap ramp and railings were also installed. "This space was intended to serve as a meeting place for social functions and activities," said Frank.
The new green space project is part of the SMU displacement project funded by Sutter Health. The official unveiling of the new lawn and patio will be held on Friday, April 22, to celebrate Earth Day. The University will provide refreshments and Suma Landscaping will be donating seeds and plants for guests to "take home to make their own contribution to the Greening of America."
Environmentalists from Earth Day Network, an organization focusing on greening school construction across the country, claim sustainable school design provides cost-effective way to enhance student learning, reduce health and operational costs and, ultimately, increase school quality and competitiveness.
"Samuel Merritt University is proud to be part of the national green schools movement and to work with local businesses like Suma Landscaping to green our campus," said Lillian Harvin, SMU Facilities Director. "The new space is a major step forward in providing students, faculty, and staff with a healthy learning environment."
In an interview conducted by the SF Business Times, Oakland Mayor Jean Quan says Green Policy is high on the City's agenda, "Green is a way of life in Oakland. We are an active member of the Emerald Cities Collaborative, 10 cities working together with 21 national organizations to envision a future in which American cities are the greenest and most equitable in the world."
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