The Meredith Lake, located behind McIver Amphitheater, is set to have its donor celebration for the reopening on Oct. 7, 2021. According to President Jo Allen, the college has planned “outdoor celebrations with masks, social distancing and more” following the lake being unused for five and a half years. Dr. Allen said, “Our intention [for the celebrations] is to include those who have donated to the costs of renovations as well as...students and employees who love the lake.”
Renovations to the dam, lake and island were slowed due to COVID-19, Dr. Allen stated, and “the return of a booming construction economy also waylaid some of our earlier efforts for renovations.” She said, “It took a long time to get engineers, designers, compliance officers and donors together to see what needed to be updated from the 1960s when the lake and dam were built...all sorts of codes have changed since then, necessitating additional structural support, compliance regulations for the dam, site development, landscaping and accessibility options and more.”
With lake renovations close to completion, Dr. Allen is “delighted that our students and others throughout our community have a destination at the college for all kinds of community-building and sharing” or for enjoying solitude. In addition to events like weddings and family reunions, the Meredith Lake “has been the site for Cornhuskin’ for some time,” and other events such as theatrical performances and guest speakers have taken place here. “And, as always, the lake offers a peaceful respite from the stress of college life—and a quiet place to read, study, talk with friends, eat lunch, walk and more,” Dr. Allen said.
When asked what the lake signifies for alumnae like herself, Dr. Allen shared, “The lake has always been a focal point for the campus. When I was a student, we would often take our lunch out to the lake and chat with friends. It was a nice site for an afternoon [or] early evening date, too...I’m also pleased that the lake is a site for research and study. Our students and employees, for instance, have tested water quality, algae blooms and environmental priorities.” Dr. Allen said that the college also uses water from the lake for irrigation purposes during hotter months.
Dr. Allen is grateful for everyone’s patience with the lake renovations and for gifts from special donors, referred to as “the Ladies of the Lake,” for making these renovations possible.
By Haileigh West, Contributing Writer
Interview conducted by Freya Dahlgren, Staff Writer