- Associated Press - Thursday, March 27, 2014

AUBURN, Ala. (AP) - The redevelopment of Toomer’s Corner and Samford Park at Auburn University will begin next week.

The construction beginning Wednesday will be the first of two phases of the redevelopment. Phase one will begin with the “hardscape” construction of the design.

“Phase one will include the installation of new pavers, soil replacement and the circular seating wall,” said Gail Riese, facilities management communications director. “That will be in the fenced-off work zone.”

Riese said approximately 9,000 square feet at Toomer’s Corner will be fenced off for the project’s first phase. The fence installation will cause the closure of several sidewalks in the area. The university released a statement Wednesday asking pedestrians to use caution when walking in the area during the construction process.

“At times during construction, the right-hand, southbound lane on South College Street will be temporarily closed to accommodate construction traffic,” the statement read. “Motorists are urged to use caution when traveling near the worksite.

Prior to construction, the eagles currently perched on the two brick gates at Toomer’s Corner will be removed Thursday by the Lathan Company, Inc. The company removed the eagles previously in April 2012 for restoration.

The eagles will be stored elsewhere on campus during construction, but the gates will remain on site.

The hardscape construction of phase one will be completed prior to the fall 2014 semester. Dan King, assistant vice president for facilities, previously told the Opelika-Auburn News that landscape portion of the design will take a little longer to complete.

“The trees will take a little bit longer,” King said. “Specifically what has to happen with the trees is we have to identify the exact candidates and do a process called root-pruning the trees. We dig around the roots, and it causes the root ball to get bigger and denser, which makes the likelihood of the tree being able to survive being transplanted much better.”

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Information from: Opelika-Auburn News, http://www.oanow.com/