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Indiana University Northwest

Office of Marketing and Communications

Final vision for IU Northwest’s Tamarack space open for discussion

Area where former building once stood is greening up; SPEA students’ vision to springboard campus conversations


Media Contact

Emily Banas
Office of Marketing and Communications

Erika Rose
Office of Marketing and Communications

Indiana University Northwest’s Tamarack Hall, the campus’s first building and legendary home to one of the area’s finest theatrical venues, is now officially history.

Demolition crews razed the flood-damaged building last spring. By June, there was nothing left but memories, and a vacant lot.

Phase II of the demolition, site restoration, is in full swing, according to Vice Chancellor for Administration Joseph Pellicciotti. Passersby will see a developing lawn, and crews soon will begin the beautification process by laying sidewalks, planting trees and shrubs, and installing lights and emergency phones.

Now, the looming question is, “What will become of the Tamarack space?” Whatever that space becomes, it will be green. And, the campus will be involved in that decision-making process.

IU Northwest Chancellor William J. Lowe said that in August, administrators will take up the topic of developing the green space and engaging the campus community in the planning process.

Campus discussions, he said, could likely begin with a presentation already brought forth by two students, from the School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA), who developed a green space proposal as part of a class project for their Introduction to Environmental Science course.

Missy Grish and Kelly Clemens researched ecosystems and learned that the area where Tamarack stood is a natural wetland and prone to flooding. They learned about plants that survive best in that ecosystem.

At an event commemorating Tamarack Hall in May, when dignitaries opened a 54-year-old time capsule from the building’s cornerstone, the students unveiled their vision for what the space could become. Their carefully thought-out plan included a pavilion, native plants that thrive in the area, and a dry stream, which, they said, is an attractive way to control the flow of water in a landscape.

“Since this space sits within the flood plain of the Little Calumet River, it is only a matter of time before the next flood,” Clemens said. “We feel it is very important for IU Northwest to design a space that can withstand a flood.”

Lowe praised the students’ project, calling it “very thorough and very professionally done.”

“I think everyone who has seen it cannot help but be impressed by the good work they did to make it a pleasant but also very environmentally sustainable space for us going forward,” Lowe said.

Lowe said the proposal serves as a framework to begin the campus conversations “not only because it is so well done, but because it does not rule out other ideas.”

The Chancellor cited public art as one example, noting that the space once occupied by Tamarack Hall consists of more than one acre.

As a Computer Information Systems major, Grish brought her computer savvy into the project and digitally created the green space.

“I took measurements and was able to visually make a green space for everyone to walk through,” Grish explained. “They were able to see our vision come to life.”

Clemens said that she and Grish spent weeks researching and brainstorming ideas for a proposal that would simultaneously benefit the campus community and the environment.

“We felt it was a necessity to keep the space as natural as possible,” Clemens said. “We feel that by incorporating a green space on campus, IU Northwest will be at the forefront of setting a standard for other colleges in the area.”

“It would be such a rewarding feeling to have our thoughts become a reality,” she added.

View the students’ proposal here.