Skip over navigation

Campus Greens & Courtyards

Campus greens and courtyards are among the most memorable campus outdoor places. They provide settings for classes and special events, for recreation and contemplation, fostering a sense of tranquility while offering vistas of the surrounding architecture.

Plans for both the new Whitman College, completed in fall 2008, and the renovated Butler College, completed in fall 2009, have incorporated large courtyards and open green spaces around the buildings. Butler College includes the Memorial Court, an amphitheater-like space that is irrigated with rainwater harvested from an underground tank. Other Butler courts function as light wells, bringing daylight into floors below and reducing the need for artificial lighting.

On the core campus, the Campus Plan provides for the restoration of historic courtyards with new lawns and pavement, native soils to help lawns withstand heavy use, and new drainage systems to recycle rainwater back into lawns and planting beds and reduce runoff. Other historic areas are being enhanced by removing obsolete walks, reducing graveled areas for parked carts and returning more planting space for lawn and trees.

New perimeter pavements will permit maintenance traffic without damaging lawns and new plantings.


Butler Memorial Court honors the group of classes that generously supported Butler College in the past and is paved with bluestone salvaged from the original buildings. The unique gathering place houses a 5,000-gallon underground stormwater storage tank to collect rainwater runoff from the roofs to irrigate the landscaping.


Holder provides an example of how historic courtyards are being restored on the core campus. The "after" image (below) shows the new lawn and pavement.