Work will begin Monday, May 16, on a significant renovation to The Oval in front of Grawemeyer Hall. The project will include replacing the roadway surface with brick pavers; lighting the Grawemeyer Hall exterior; rebuilding the steps, installing an irrigation system and replacing sod in the Oval.
Funded entirely through a federal grant, the construction is part of UofL’s safety and beautification project. It is scheduled for completion by Aug. 15.
The project is designed to reflect the vision of famed parks designer Frederick Law Olmsted, said Kathleen Smith, chief of staff for President James Ramsey and the person overseeing the renovation. Olmsted’s firm designed the Louisville parks and parkway system and envisioned The Oval as a complement to Stansbury Park across Third Street.
“The Oval should and will be a beautiful front door to the university,” Smith said. “We’ve received many compliments on the new entry to The Oval. This new project will complete the renovation and create a landmark worthy of this outstanding university.”
The project also will include restoration of the Thinker statue on the steps of Grawemeyer Hall. The statue will be removed temporarily for the work.
Construction will cause some short-term headaches for faculty and staff who park on or around The Oval. All parking on The Oval will be eliminated during the project. Handicapped parking will be moved to the visitors’ spaces near the West Information Center, and visitor parking will be routed to lots south of Eastern Parkway.
Portions of The Oval will be closed to traffic during construction. The Natural Science and Brandeis School of Law parking lots will remain open, and employee spaces in them will not be affected. Two-way traffic will be set up on open portions of The Oval to route employees away from the construction and into the lots. The traffic pattern will change occasionally during the construction period.
The lot behind McCandless Hall will be closed during part of the project; employees will be notified and parking arrangements made before the closure.
The first phase of work will begin May 16 with milling of the entire Oval. On Tuesday, May 17, part of The Oval will become a two-way street, with signs indicating the route to the parking lots; the remainder will be closed to traffic.
UofL Today will post construction and traffic updates throughout the project as it receives them.