Block Party heralds Downing St. transformation
September 14 was a day of celebration at Clark, as students, faculty, staff and friends joined President David Angel at a Block Party to officially recognize the transformation of Downing Street into a pedestrian plaza as well as other notable campus improvements.
President Angel told the gathering that discussions have been ongoing for 10 years about closing Downing Street to improve safety and physically unite the campus.
“We never imagined the transformative difference it would make,” he said.
For more photos of the block party and the recent campus changes, visit Clark on Flickr.
President Angel noted the other significant changes that were made to the campus this summer: a 10,000-square-foot addition that links Sanford and Johnson halls, the opening up of the Fuller Quad, refinished gym floors and new “Clark red” bleachers in the Kneller Athletic Center, and renovations to The Bistro. The changes, he said, also improves campus accessibility to those with limited mobility.
The Block Party was the culmination of a summer of construction work on and around campus (City of Worcester crews also replaced sewer conduits on Woodland, Main and other nearby streets). “It’s sort of a mystery how it all got done,” Angel said.
The president said he was “most grateful” to William ’76 and Jane ’75 Mosakowski, who made a substantial donation to complete the Downing Street work, thanking them for their “vision and constancy” on behalf of their alma mater. “They’ve supported Clark from the heart for many, many years,” he said. “[The Mosakowskis] wanted to be sure this truly was a first-class project.”
William Mosakowski, who attended the ceremony with his wife Jane, said he and Jane were happy to see the changes made to the now-unrecognizable Downing Street. He noted that as students they would have enjoyed courting “on this beautiful road.”
Following Mosakowski’s remarks, President Angel read the words engraved on the plaque adorning a low stone wall at the entry to the plaza:
In appreciation to a Clark Couple – Jane ’75 and Bill ’76 Mosakowski
Downing Street Project: Two Parts Made One
President Angel thanked the Physical Plant staff and the University’s construction partners on the multiple projects. He paid special tribute to Paul Bottis ’84, the former longtime director of Physical Plan and current senior projects manager who has overseen numerous campus enhancements since joining Clark in 1977.
“You must be so proud, and we’re so proud of you,” Angel said after asking Bottis to join him at the microphone. “This is a beautiful campus that shows your footprint.”
“It’s home,” Bottis said.
In a separate interview, Bottis, who will retire in January, said that knitting together the campus by closing Downing Street is the career-capper he’d always wanted.
“It was evident that we needed to close in the campus — I knew what this could look like,” he said. “Of all the projects, this is the one I wanted to see done the most, and I didn’t want to leave until it was finished. We finally have the campus we wanted.”
In true Block Party fashion, once the ceremony concluded, the party began, with attendees enjoying fun food like corndogs and cotton candy, live music, and tours of the improved campus areas.