The Secret Garden

MUN Chemistry Building

With lush green grass, benches, picnic tables, and best of all, four walls to protect you from the biting St. John’s wind, the Chemistry Building courtyard seems like the best place on campus to relax between summer classes.

But unless you have a Spiderman-like ability to scale walls, you’ll never get there.

For years students have marveled at this hidden green space, visible from the Chemistry Building’s windows and ledges, but seemingly inaccessible.

Ivan Muzychka, MUN’s director of marketing and communications, helped unravel the mystery of the university’s secret garden.

“The garden in the courtyard of the Chemistry Building was closed a long time ago, at least 10 years ago and possibly before that,” says Muzychka.

“There is no access to the area because the fire marshal deemed it a hazard. If people were out there and the building caught fire, users of the courtyard would have to go through the building to get out of the building, so to speak. If people instead chose to stay in the courtyard during a fire, they could face hazards as well.”

So the space was closed off on all sides and now lies wedged in the centre of the building, overgrown with grass in the summer, and buried in snow in the winter.

“The university is considering ideas on what to do with the space. However, as always, whether any plans move forward will depend on funding and how such plans relate to other campus priorities,” says Muzychka.

But Muzychka assures there’s no reason to fret. MUN still boasts plenty of scenic spots to lie in the grass on a sunny afternoon.

“St. John’s campus has many green spaces including areas next to the Science Building and down by Burton’s Pond and the Arts and Culture Centre, to name a few. In addition, the campus is in close proximity to Long Pond and to the trail and extensive parkland that surrounds that body of water.”

— Sheena Goodyear
Suggestion for a nook? nooks@thescope.ca