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Inside Iowa State, a newspaper for faculty and staff, is published by the Office of University Relations.

Feb. 15, 2008

Marching north ...

by Erin Rosacker

With construction of the Biorenewables Complex to begin this fall, the sounds of marching band practice will echo from a new site at the north end of campus. The band used the new building site for its fall practices.

Band members will tack another three to four minutes onto their walk from Music Hall, but should enjoy a custom space carved out among the shade trees in the outdoor classroom area west of the Communications Building.

"We're trying to keep the daily outdoor band rehearsal site in proximity to the music building, because most of the students' instruments are stored there and it's where indoor rehearsals are held," said Cathy Brown, campus planner for facilities planning and management. "The combination of their outdoor needs with indoor access really was instrumental in moving this direction in selecting this location."

Barring weather setbacks, work to convert the area should begin in April and last four to six weeks.

There's a fair amount of grading that needs to be done and some existing plants along the edge of the parking lot will be transplanted, said landscape architect Rhonda Martin.

The new practice ground will measure the size of a football field -- plus an extra end zone. The space will run north and south, roughly parallel to and mirroring the length of parking lot 12.

Crews will refit the existing irrigation system, install lighting and supply electricity for a sound system. For the turf, ISU campus services staff will install a low-growing fescue grass seed.

"Once the seed is down, we'll have to let Mother Nature grow it so that they can be marching on it in the middle of August," Martin said.

Although the golf greens will disappear and a chip-and-putt lunch hour no longer will be possible, the space will see other activities, such as ROTC drills and survey classes.

"It should just blend right back into the existing site," Martin said. "I think it will be a nice space, and when people aren't marching on it, other people can use it for recreation."

And just how long will this new location serve as the home for marching band practice?

"At this point in time, we're considering this their home for the foreseeable future," Brown said.


"The combination of [the marching band's] outdoor needs with indoor access really was instrumental in moving this direction in selecting this location."

Cathy Brown