During a rainy May day, nine members of the Grayson College Pond Beautification Advisory Committee gathered to lay out the new designs for the pond on the outskirts of the Denison college. Plans included the installation of a walking trail, clearing up the moss and setting up benches, a fishing dock, and a pavilion. It was said most of this could be finished by July.

During a rainy May day, nine members of the Grayson College Pond Beautification Advisory Committee gathered to lay out the new designs for the pond on the outskirts of the Denison college. Plans included the installation of a walking trail, clearing up the moss and setting up benches, a fishing dock, and a pavilion. It was said most of this could be finished by July.


That, unfortunately, hasn’t happened yet.


"The rain has caused some problems," Project Director Alan McAdams said. "… The whole month of May and the first part of June, the weather didn’t permit us to do anything."


There were also some communication difficulties with the $25,000 grant from Skills USA and Lowe’s that allowed the college to fund the project.


"At one point in time there was some confusion as to whether the grant would be funded," Grayson College Foundation Grant Specialist Janis Thompson said. "But it’s all gone through, the funds have been received, and it’s probably a good thing that there was a little down time between there, because there was no way they could start anything until this month anyway."


McAdams explained from here on out, the project has to proceed pedal to the metal.


"Normally, we would have had a whole year to put this together, but instead by the time (the grant) was awarded, our year had shrunk down to six months," McAdams said.


The deadline to complete the project and have all final reports turned into Lowe’s and Skills USA is Dec. 1, he said.


"And then to make matter worse we’d lost a month and a half or two months to poor weather conditions," McAdams added with a laugh.


As most of the heavy rainfall has finally cleared, McAdams said they can finally start working around the swamp conditions at the pond to install culverts and a spillway, just in case these conditions occur again.


"The way the spillway is right now, when it rains you really can’t cross that area again for three or four days at a minimum, so the goal is to fix that problem," he said. "… Maintenance is about to go in with a backhoe and redo some of our spillway; they’re putting in some culverts there to make it so people can walk across the spillway."


He said they’ve contracted the concrete slabs to be poured, and that they may be poured right now. If not, he added, they’re going to be poured this week.


While the equipment is on-site, the plan is to use it to clear some of the moss and cattails littering the pond. This will be the first step to visually improving the area.


"Once we get that done and the concrete poured, everything ought to come together real fast," McAdams said.


The college has collected bids for building a pavilion at the pond, as well as a bid for installing a floating dock. They are also looking at the possibility of having the welding students build the dock instead, and whether it would be more cost efficient to go that route.


There have been suggestions brought to Thompson and McAdams, who have been flexible with the overall plan for the pond to include the community’s ideas. McAdams said the final designs have floated as viable suggestions that enhance the project have been brought forward, among them having the Boy Scouts build birdhouses and small fishing stations for the pond.


It shows an involvement that’s campus-wide and community driven, as Thompson pointed out at the May meeting.


Director of Marketing and Public Information for Grayson College Shelle Cassell agreed turning the pond into a working part of the campus will benefit the students and the community.


"We are excited to have this improvement, especially since it was a student project," she said. "The pond area will create a showcase place out of a long-forgotten area. It’s even more of an asset since the students and community will be able to view the improvements while dining in the student-run restaurant, Six Ninety One, which overlooks that area of campus."


Now that a plan has been set, McAdams said none of the grant money has been spent yet, but about half of it has been earmarked for what they know they’d like to see done based on the bids they’ve collected.


The project should start rolling full steam by August.