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'Party for the Trees' celebration set for Oct. 9

RELEASED: Oct. 7, 2009

EAU CLAIRE — The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire will host a student-initiated campuswide party Oct. 9 to celebrate the last autumn for many of the trees that will be removed this winter to make way for a new student center.

The "Party for the Trees" event will run from 5-8 p.m. Oct. 9 in the green space between Davies Center and the Phillips Hall parking lot.

The celebration will include food, games and instruction from members of the student organization Two to Tango, said Tim Lauer, one of the student organizers.

Trees will be removed to make way for a new 156,000-square-foot student center that will be built on green space between the Davies Center and the Phillips Hall parking lot on the south side of lower campus. Construction is scheduled to begin in late spring 2010, with occupancy of the building in late fall 2012.

Tree species that were found only in that area of campus already have been planted elsewhere on campus, said Beth Hellwig, chair of the Davies Center Redevelopment Steering Committee. Science faculty members often use trees on campus as part of their curriculum so it was important that the various species remain on the campus grounds, she said.

The student center project also will require the removal of crabapple trees that were planted as a memorial to the four young people killed during a protest at Kent State in 1970, Hellwig said. UW-Eau Claire is working to find a suitable replacement for the Kent State Memorial, she said.

The Council Oak tree will not be removed or relocated as part of the project. Architects instead are exploring building design options that will protect the tree and the historic site.

The Oct. 9 event was organized by members of the New Student Center Project, University Centers and the University Activities Commission. Organizers will coordinate the event with National Collegiate Alcohol Awareness Week and WAGE activities.

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JB/DW

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