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Italian marble gazebo to grace Brenau entrance
Jose Roberto Baires with Carroll Daniel Construction Co. ropes off the front of the Brenau University campus in preparation for the building of a new entrance that soon will be under construction. The area is where the archway was, previously the entrance to the campus. - photo by Tom Reed

Brenau University is undergoing some renovations and rearranging some landmarks.

A new monument is planned on the front of the campus — a 17-foot tall, 17-foot wide Italian marble gazebo that will serve as the gateway to the front lawn. The gazebo will be completed by January 2009.

The gazebo is designed to blend structurally with other buildings on campus, said Brenau spokesman David Morrison.

Wayne Dempsey, executive vice president and chief financial officer for the school, said the roof of the gazebo will be baked-on bronze.

The octagonal gazebo will have four arched entry ways.

Each entryway signifies one of Brenau’s portals of learning —worldview, science, creativity and communication.

"The idea of the gazebo was to find a way to embody the redefinition of the liberal arts that the school has just completed. We have rededicated ourselves to excellence in the liberal arts, and symbolic of that we’ve grouped the liberal arts and the experience of liberal arts into four portals," said Brenau President Ed Schrader.

The new gazebo is a gift of Brenau Trustee Carole Ann Carter Daniel, a 1968 Brenau Women’s College graduate.

Many may be wondering the fate of iconic Brenau landmarks like the wrought iron archway and the crow’s nest, but Morrison said they won’t be moving far.

The crow’s nest will be moved back to the spot on campus where it was situated in 1905, and designed with a traditional look but sound, modern engineering.

"There is traditional significance to the way it was constructed," Dempsey said.

The crow’s nest is part of a campus tradition that recognizes seniors. Seniors are the only students allowed to go up in the crows nest, and they wear robes and ivy wreaths during a ceremony in which they pass down their wreaths to the rising seniors.

"It’s what we call class day and it’s the day the classes say goodbye to the senior class and all the lower classes celebrate their passage to the next year," Schrader said.

The crow’s nest is slated to be complete by February.

Dempsey said a path leading to the crow’s nest will highlight the school’s history.

The bricks of the new heritage walk will pay homage to the different student groups on campus, Dempsey said.

"What makes it very special ... is all of these are going to be etched with the names of various organizations that have been on the college campus since its inception," Dempsey said.

The wrought iron arch will also be replaced.

The archway bearing the school’s moniker, which has been taken down and is now leaning against a tree, will likely be moved in doors to preserve it from further weathering.

Morrison said a final location has not been decided upon, but the arch will end up displayed in one of the university’s buildings.

"We’re going to preserve that iron in some way," Morrison said.

The school will also be commissioning two bronze sculptures — one of a student of the early 1900s to sit in the new gazebo, and one of a modern student to sit near the crows nest.

Schrader said it is meant to symbolize the ties between Brenau’s past and future.

"The idea is tying the modern student to the heritage that she is the heir to," Schrader said. "It’s going to be a really unified approach to preserving the foundation upon which the future is built."

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