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Sustainability Efforts Highlighted on Plaza Tour

MCTC's new outdoor plazaIf you visited the Minneapolis Community and Technical College (MCTC) outdoor plaza more than three years ago, you might not recognize it today.

Following three years of extensive development and redesign aimed at upgrading facilities, mitigating stormwater runoff, beautifying the campus and connecting the College aesthetically to its Loring Park, Walker Art Center and Downtown Minneapolis neighbors, the MCTC plaza reopened in 2013 as a lush, inviting canvas of natural plants, grasses and flowers where once acres of concrete sprawled.

The redesign won accolades from the Minneapolis Downtown Improvement District, which has awarded Greening Awards to the college for the redesign and its sustainable rain gardens in 2012, 2013 and 2014.

“This redesign not only allowed for the completion of deferred maintenance on campus, it also helped us manage stormwater runoff and brought Loring Park up into campus,” said MCTC Director of Facilities Roger Broz. “The College is now gardening on a municipal level.”

In addition, the impeccable upkeep devoted to this lush landscape by MCTC Gardener and Groundskeeper Randy Rau caught the attention of local experts. Randy’s expertise was tapped by the Lynnhurst Garden Club for a tour of the native plants, and he led 16 active gardeners through the grounds this week, connecting the current flora with sustainability and aesthetic efforts behind the redesign.

Randy recently led faulty, staff, students, community members and members of local gardening communities on a tour of the landscape, showcasing rain gardens, flora, stormwater mitigation techniques and the invitation of neighboring Loring Park into the campus itself.