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Mithun | PLU Campus


Title: A University Creates a Natural History Classroom

Project: Pacific Lutheran University/ South Campus Open Space Plan

Firm: Mithun

Summary: The South Campus Open Space Plan for Pacific Lutheran University completements Mithun’s work on the Sustainable Master Plan and Major Improvements Master Plan. The new plan reclaims the University’s golf course with a native prairie restoration. The site has an important role as a regional ecological link in Pierce County along Clover Creek and adjacent to the extensive habitat at Joint Base Lewis-McCord. Implementation of this plan will improve the quality of that connection, increasing healthy biodiversity and recharging the aquifer The site also has a unique history and rare existing features, including the presence of endangered garry oak prairie habitat and a large number of landforms called “Mima Mounds”, which are of uncertain origin and found in only a few places on earth. The Open Space Plan will serve as a teaching and outreach tool to the PLU community and the surrounding region. It will be used for biology, geology and water resource classes – an outdoor laboratory for research and restoration, while at the same time providing a flexible space that allows for recreational activities such as cross country meets, casual jogging, dog walking and bird watching. The team, led by Mithun landscape architects, included a soil scientist, ecologist, arborist and civil engineer who worked closely with University and the neighboring community to develop the plan. By pulling together input from the various interests, the team has defined the Open Space Plan’s mission and goals, and developed a management plan approach for the short and long term restoration of the site.