|In the past few years our yearly messages to our contributors have emphasized the remarkable way in which the revitalized Guy Mason Center has functioned as a focal point for a complex of communities – the pottery makers, the painters, the bridge players, the dog owners, the teenagers shooting hoops, the toddlers exploring the playground, the neighbors there simply to enjoy a quiet few minutes amidst the loveliness of the Fragrance Garden. We have taken a good deal of pride in the major role that your contributions and our stewardship have played in bringing all of this to fruition.
2010 has been a year of stress for the diverse but interlocking communities of Guy Mason users. We are quite confident that, come late spring of 2011, everyone will be very happy with the rehabilitated Guy Mason building. It will be more comfortable, more rationally organized for the program activities, more accessible to all. But getting through the construction phases has undoubtedly been painful. Classes and programs have been moved to temporary (often less convenient) locations. Large portions of the grounds have been behind construction fences, and the route from parking lot to playground has been tortuous.
We are pleased that the major Friends project for 2010 (view photos of the event) has helped alleviate at least some of that unsettled feeling for users of the grounds. The handsomely paved stroller path has worked very well, and has eliminated an ugly scar on the landscaping. We know that there will be a number of similar tasks to undertake once construction is completed. While construction crews have been reasonably careful, there is some damage to plantings in the landscaped areas. Sadly, the old oak tree in the entrance circle has succumbed and will need to be replaced with an outstanding specimen tree. We can expect that with the city government facing serious budgetary constraints, there will be a lot of small things left undone both inside and out – the kinds of things that make a functional building attractive and comfortable.
Meanwhile we will continue with all our regular maintenance activities on the grounds: pruning trees, tending to the Fragrance Garden, keeping the playground equipment in good order, etc.
The Friends will continue to be a strong advocate for the interests of the students and faculty whose participation in the classes and programs keep the building bustling. We will try very hard to build upon our past successes and to take advantage of the opportunities for improvement that the completed building will give us.