A student and his family have expressed concerns about the deteriorating condition of Senior Walk, but a UA official said they have a plan to restore the first 50 years on the east entry of Old Main as soon as they raise the funds.
Senior James Schlecte and his father Joseph Schlecte expressed their disappointment in Senior Walk’s condition.
“My feelings toward the Senior Walk are sadness and disappointment in the lack of preservation of the walk where there is obvious wear and tear,” Joseph Schlecte said. “I feel this is a historical monument recognizing those who walked the campus before the students of today. I would like for the school to protect these historical paths and not allow pedestrians on those where there is broken pavement.”
Joseph Watt Gardner graduated in 1906 and was the great grandfather of James Schlecte. He became a Baptist minister for the deaf. The only part of his name that can be seen on Senior Walk is his last name.
James Schlecte said that seeing his name on Senior Walk motivates him to do well in school.
“My close family all went to the University of Texas, so I felt like an outcast going to Arkansas,” he said. “There was a humbling feeling knowing that someone in my family went to the UofA and was able to graduate. Every time I walk by his name, or at least his last name, I get a surge of motivation to keep pushing toward graduation.”
Jay Huneycutt, director of planning and capital programs, said officials are working on a plan to repair and improve the first 50 years of Senior Walk.
“We know it’s sacred ground,” Huneycutt said. “That’s why we are trying to come up with a solution people would be happy with.”
The options for repair include pouring new concrete or sandblasting the names into granite or stone, Huneycutt said. The more permanent solution is the stone, but funding for that may not be available, he said.
Restoring and improving the first 50 years of Senior Walk would cost anywhere from $300,000 to $600,000, Huneycutt said.
The university is working with the Arkansas Alumni Association and the Center for Advanced Spatial Technologies to find the best way to restore the damaged years.
CAST is using special 3D digital photography to capture the names so workers can etch them into fiberglass or another type of material. These can be purchased by students and their families if they are interested, Huneycutt said.
“We are trying to come up with a good plan before we start ripping things up,” Huneycutt said.