Ground Broken For Mr. George’s Green, Open Space on Campus
From left to right, Nicholas, Barney, and Carol Barnett with President Anne Kerr at the ceremonial groundbreaking for Mr. George's Green.
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LAKELAND (June 12, 2012) – Amid a summer of new projects at Florida Southern, one spectacular new greenspace in the heart of the campus got an enthusiastic ceremonial start today.
As loudspeakers played “I Feel the Earth Move,” ground was broken for Mr. George’s Green, an open space that will occupy the place where the varsity tennis courts previously stood. Mr. George’s Green, named for the late George Jenkins, founder of Publix Super Markets, will be a terraced lawn running from Allan Spivey Hall down to Ingraham Avenue, providing a beautiful, landscaped space for students, their families, faculty, and staff to play and relax.
A generous donation from Publix Super Markets Charities for the project was presented to FSC President Anne B. Kerr from Carol Jenkins Barnett ’79, daughter of George Jenkins and CEO of the Charities.
“It seemed a natural complement to create a space next to the George Jenkins Field House. My father was so proud when that was built,” said Mrs. Barnett. “It’s a wonderful thing to see the College continue to expand.”
Mr. George’s Green was made possible by the construction of the new Wynee Warden Tennis Center. Including those two projects, there are four major construction efforts underway on campus this summer. In addition, the expansion of the Fannin Campus Ministries Center and the expansion of TuTu’s Cyber Café are under construction and expected to be completed by the fall. Also, additional renovations to Jenkins Field House are underway.
In remarks at the groundbreaking for Mr. George’s Green, Dr. Kerr noted that the first feature Thomas Jefferson included in the design of the University of Virginia was a terraced lawn in the center of the campus.
“This is a marvelous addition to the Florida Southern campus. It is indeed transformational in many ways and will do so much, in Carol’s words, to ‘make this diamond shine.’ We are very honored to name this green for Mr. Jenkins. He was such a generous man, and left a legacy of giving that continues to transform every community where Publix Super Markets has a store,” she said.
Student Government Association President Ashley Gibson thanked Carol and Barney ’65 Barnett for “creating this great outdoor living room.”
“I just hope that the grass that is planted here is extra hearty, because we are going to be wearing it out, day in and day out,” she said.
After the ceremonial groundbreaking, the Barnetts, their son Nicholas, and Dr. Kerr climbed into a front-end loader, and with some guidance Mr. Barnett scooped up a load of dirt.
Asked if he felt the earth move, Mr. Barnett joked, “I did. I felt the green get a little greener.”