An oak tree that once stood outside the Ivers and Jones science buildings will be repurposed and made into benches for the new science facility.
As the Integrated Science Complex renovations develop further, it is not just the old walls and facilities of the science departments that must go.
To make way for the new, a well-loved burr oak tree also had to be removed. Although the tree no longer stands tall and proud outside the science buildings, its wood will remain part of the science project makeover.
Director of Facilities Wayne Flack and carpenter Ted Anderson are working in collaboration with the science executive and design committees to build benches from the remaining wood.
Flack first came to the idea a few years ago when he began touring other colleges' facilities to get ideas for the new science center. At St. Olaf, he took note of the furniture they had built from their campus' old trees and brought back the concept to Concordia. When it became apparent the oak tree had to come down, building furniture seemed like the perfect opportunity to keep the tree "alive." The bench design will be unique to Concordia. What that design will be, however, they have yet to decide.
"We don't know if we're making five benches or two benches. We don't know if our benches will have backs to them, if they'll be 4 feet long, 5 feet long, modernistic looking," Flack says.
Eventually, the trunk of the oak tree will be cut into boards and brought out to a kiln. There it will sit for a month or two to remove any moisture trapped in the wood that may cause the boards to twist. Then, once a design is determined, Anderson will begin molding and shaping the wood into something durable and sustainable that will last for many years.
Flack is quick to praise Anderson's talent as a carpenter. "It's going to be something that people are going to walk by and sit down on and think about the past and the present, and (the bench) will be beautiful. Whatever it is, it will be beautiful."
Anderson is focused on making the benches practical and functional. He is dedicated to creating the benches in whatever fashion the group decides and is grateful for the opportunity to see people appreciating the benches in the future.
"It's satisfying to see the smile on someone's face who appreciates it," he says.
If everything goes according to plan, the benches will be finished by fall 2017 and brought into the new facilities along with the other furnishings.