The Waiting Game
Etching new sections into Senior Walk has been delayed because of the poor quality of concrete in the area near the Chi Omega Greek Theater, officials said.
“The plan is to improve the quality and durability of that area of sidewalk,” said John Diamond, associate vice chancellor for university relations.
How that is going to be done is still being determined, he said.
The issue was discovered when Facilities Management tried to sandblast the concrete to add new names, said Glenn Grippe, director of business and support services.
The problem originated with either the contractor or the supplier, Grippe said.
The UA is negotiating with the contractor to resolve the problem.
“In this and in all situations, we expect that when we contract with businesses, they will fulfill their obligations by providing quality products and services,” Diamond said.
Additional work is needed to prepare the area in question before new names can be carved, he said. However, officials hope to have the problem fixed and begin carving names in the next few weeks.
There also has been a problem with chips in graduates’ names, said Ruth Hirsch, administrative support supervisor.
Facilities management officials have “ways to patch names,” Diamond said.
Other sections have been removed and stored to make way for construction, said Steve Voorhies of University Relations.
Those sections will be replaced when the construction is complete, he said.
The UA has plans to make a display of the names that are either covered or removed so that alumni can see their name if they visit the campus, Diamond said.
“We are working to communicate with people that there are some temporary disruptions [with the names],” he said. “I think people understand that we, as a university, did our best to protect the names.”
“I think the walk states my accomplishment,” said senior Allie Mertz, food science major.
“I think they are doing a good job to keep it protected,” she said. “It is kind of sad, but it’s necessary if they want to keep expanding our campus.”
Senior walk stretches five miles across the UA campus and contains more than 140,000 names of UA graduates, according to the Arkansas Alumni Association.
The tradition of putting the names of seniors on the sidewalk began with the 1905 class, according to the alumni website. The class of 1904 then added their names to the walk. In 1930, all of the graduating classes prior to 1904 were added.
The UA has plans for Senior Walk that extend as far ahead as 2030, Diamond said.
Diamond thinks the UA will be able to continue this tradition “indefinitely.”