The University of New Mexico Duck Pond may soon undergo a series of renovations. The ‘Duck Pond Beautification’ project is being headed by the UNM Graduate and Professional Student Association. The proposed renovations include seating arrangement upgrades, better water feature installations and more foliage.

The idea of a duck pond first appeared in a landscape plan of the campus in 1960, before undergoing construction and completion in 1976. The pond has not seen many changes since that time, which is why GPSA has taken up the project. They site problems such as worn out benches, aging recreational areas and fixtures that need updating.

University Architect Sue Mortier will work with students input to determine what design aspects will work best to serve the renovations goals and budget, and remarks on the role the area plays on campus. “The serene nature it offers to get away from the hustle and bustle of life, people do everything there, from reading and studying to getting married, it’s just so much a part of this campus,” she said.

The proposed renovations for the UNM Duck Pond include seating arrangement upgrades, better water features and more foliage. Photo credit: Steve Carr

When Priscila Poliana, a master’s student in planning, first brought the idea to her colleagues at GPSA, they immediately jumped on board. She credits her inspiration for the project on a meet up with Bryan Suhr, supervisor of arboriculture at UNM’s Physical Plant Department.

“I met with Bryan to decide where to plant a tree in honor of the GPSA, which after much deliberation was planted at the Duck Pond,” Poliana said. She said that the meeting was only supposed to last about 30 minutes, but it went on for two hours as Suhr shared his vast knowledge about the campus’s green spaces. “Bryan’s passion and commitment to his work inspired me to take action,” she said.

The donation campaign is underway and GPSA is asking students, faculty, staff, alumnus and community members to donate for a space that they believe is the “heart of main campus.” GPSA is also exploring other options for funding the project, and said the estimated costs of the renovation are still being considered. The projects timeframe remains uncertain while funding options are considered.

Poliana said, “Since this initiative is student-driven, I’d like to see students take ownership of the planning component, possibly through a project competition administered by the office of the University Architect.”