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Sittin' pretty: Pieces of Brenau gazebo
Ultiminio Herape Araujo works on the brick walkway in front of the new gazebo at the main entrance to Brenau University. The project to install the Italian marble structure is almost complete. - photo by Tom Reed

Though it was a puzzle to assemble, Brenau University’s latest monument is nearly complete.

Workers are finishing the 17-foot tall, 17-foot wide Italian marble gazebo on campus that will serve as the gateway to the front lawn.

Architect Garland Reynolds, who helped complete the plans for the gazebo, said the marble pieces arrived with few clues on how to assemble them.

"I’ve never heard of anything like it before," Reynolds said.

The solid marble was sent from China, with each column broken down into three segments, and no plans or drawings about the assembly were included.

"A structural engineer had to be hired to put it all together," Reynolds said. "Things can’t just be stacked up like blocks on top of one another."

Structural engineer Larry Bowman of Bowman Engineering devised a way to connect the pieces.

"There was no connection details," Bowman said. "Fortunately there were holes in the columns and we were able to insert reinforcing."

Small steel rods were embedded in concrete and acted like a needle to thread the pieces of each column for reinforcement.

"I’m sure it’s not going anywhere now," Reynolds said.

Each of the gazebo’s entry ways signifies one of Brenau’s portals of learning —world view, 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," Brenau President Ed Schrader has said.

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

Wayne Dempsey, executive vice president and chief financial officer for the school, said Brenau is happy the gazebo is nearly complete.

"We’re just really pleased with how (the gazebo) looks," Dempsey said. "We’ve had so many positive comments about it."

After the gazebo, Brenau will start construction on a few more improvements.

Reynolds designed a new and improved crow’s nest, which will be moved to a different spot on campus.

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 at the end of the school year in which they pass down their wreaths to the rising seniors.

"The design is complete and the contractor’s working on it now," Reynolds said.

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

"We’re constructing a new crow’s nest on the campus and building a new entry way ... called the heritage walk," Dempsey said. "I think when we finish we’re going to have a really beautiful front campus."

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