The Lang Plaza groundbreaking. (L-R: Daniel Atlin, vice-president ( external); Stu Lang; Katelyn Cortina, president of Lang students’ association; U of G president Franco Vaccarino; Lang dean Sara Mann)

Construction has begun on Lang Plaza, a new outdoor meeting space for students on the University of Guelph campus.

With plenty of green space and outdoor seating, Lang Plaza will revitalize the front entrance of Macdonald Hall, home of the Gordon S. Lang School of Business and Economics, to enhance accessibility and provide a natural place for students to gather and connect once they are able to safely return to campus.

The roughly 3,360-square-metre plaza will include patio tables, benches, a remote-controlled firepit and a water fountain named after Julia Christensen Hughes, former dean of the Lang School.

“The design of Lang Plaza reflects the importance of well-being and connection to nature,” said Lang’s interim dean, Sara Mann. “When students return to campus, Lang Plaza will offer a natural space to relax and learn.”

The plaza is part of a larger gift made in 2019 by Stu and Kim Lang that launched the school.

An artistic rendering of the new Lang Plaza

The Langs’ $21-million donation – the largest in U of G history – was part of a vision to enhance the global reputation and impact of U of G’s business school.

The donation has helped create entrance scholarships, faculty chairs, an innovation fund and now, construction to revitalize the front of Macdonald Hall, including the creation of the plaza.

“This landmark gift continues to contribute to the success of our prestigious business programs,” said U of G president Franco Vaccarino. “As part of this gift, we will soon have an accessible green space where students can meet, share ideas and connect as a community.”

A new ramp to the main building entrance will improve Macdonald Hall’s accessibility and will feature an in-ground heating system to help with snow melt.

Reflecting the University’s and the Lang School’s commitment to sustainability, a bio-infiltration garden will gather rainwater runoff from the plaza for percolation and slow release. There are also plans for a bike shelter.

Most of the plaza construction is expected to be completed by spring 2021.