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Fentem Hall is at the Northern gateway of East Central University’s campus and as the home of Continuing Education and Community Services and ECU’s Child Development Center, it attracts a lot of people.
That’s why many of its occupants have long wanted to beautify its exterior appearance.
“Fentem Hall is one of the more public buildings on campus,” said Dr. Rick Wetherill, director of the Center of Continuing Education and Community Services. “This is the main reason we wanted to do something. We wanted the public to have a good experience when they come here.”
Unfortunately, Wetherill and Bridget Forshay, community development coordinator in the CCECS, learned there were no plans for additional landscaping around Fentem Hall.
Wetherill keeps an “idea” database of things he and his colleagues would like to do if they had the money or the work force. Then he heard that Big Five had funds for a summer youth program.

“So, we saw a great opportunity to take action,” Wetherill said. 

Up to six workers helped over the summer, planning what to do and deciding which maintenance-free plants and trees would work best.

The Advancement Office helped the students with a script so they could call area nurseries and ask for donations. 
“Eight nurseries wanted to donate,” Wetherill said. “We had more offers than we could use.”

But a lot of the work of thinning out overgrown areas around bushes and trees, transplanting liriope and planting all the donated trees and shrubs fell mainly to employees in the Continuing Education offices. They and the Big Five workers spent one day digging 28 holes and the next day planting.
According to Forshay, “Many employees in the building came together to help. Everyone wants to make this a more attractive place to work and for our customers who come through the door.”

The landscaping has generated numerous compliments, Wetherill said.

Altogether, the donated items were worth almost $1,900. In addition, some ECU employees donated garden hoses and timers to make sure the plantings got off to a good start.

Cedar Valley Nurseries donated 20 sky pencil hollies that the ECU staff planted along the north side of Fentem Hall, two bosque elms to shade a parking lot and the smaller children’s playground and two October glory maple trees to shade the older children’s playground.

They also donated a pond cypress that was planted in back of the building and three loblolly pine trees that were planted in the front to provide shade and energy savings.

“Next spring, they’re planning to donate ground cover for the bare, shady areas under our trees,” Forshay said. “We plan to make ‘donated by’ sign and this gives them an opportunity to show potential customers what their product looks like in ‘the real world’ as opposed to the nursery.”

In addition, 35 bags of mulch came from Terra Form in Fittstown and Hank’s Nursery in Adadonated 18 bushes and plants from hostas to azaleas.

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