Hundreds of flowers will bloom on the sides of University Avenue next year when UT breaks ground on a nearly $2 million project, the Gardens of University Avenue.
The UT Beautification Council is a group of women with various ties to UT who plant flowers on campus. In partnership with UT, the council fundraised $1.8 million to beautify University Avenue with flowers and two steel UT emblem structures filled with flowers.
A $9 million endowment is also being fundraised to ensure the street will stay beautiful forever, said Eliza Stedman, UT Beautification Council chairwoman.
“It’s going to be gorgeous. I love it because it’s all about light and joy,” Stedman said. “I don’t know, if I failed a test one day and I walk down that street, it’s going to feel a lot better. It’s just something to make you smile, and I think nature for me heals everything.”
So far, the council has raised $6 million to support the gardens project, Stedman said. The rest is anticipated to be raised within the year from donations, Stedman said.
The project will likely break ground early next year and end within the year, said Matt Pene, UT media relations manager.
“We definitely believe that students, faculty, staff and alumni deserve a beautiful campus, and University Avenue is the front door, if you will,” Pene said. “We want to create a lasting impression, and this is the way to do it.”
Stedman said donors can buy flower beds on University Avenue that will have plaques to display their names. Eventually, Stedman said she would like to create programs to get the community involved with the planting of flowers.
Jonathan Williams, senior landscape designer for the Gardens of University Avenue, said the project will provide a new experience for entering campus.
“It’ll provide a much needed entrance into campus as you go into the Tower on University Avenue,” Williams said. “It’ll operate much better as a welcoming sequence to campus.”
Williams said the garden project is just starting its design development stage, so details on precisely what flowers and how many are yet to be determined.
“(The street) will totally change UT,” Stedman said. “Other schools in Texas have amazing beautiful streets with flowers they do year round … Well, we want to be able to keep up. We want to be pretty too, even prettier.”