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By COLLEEN MCCARTHY
The Heritage Museum in Starkville will get a new porch and ramp as part of a six-year partnership with the landscape architecture department at Mississippi State University.
The makeover will be the third step in the project to make the museum a more beautiful and sustainable part of the community. The landscape architecture department has already installed a rain garden and a sand filter on the property.
The rain garden collects rain water that would normally flow right into the sewer system to be filtered.
â€śRain gardens are attempts to use traditional landscaping, like flower beds, to improve water quality. It filters out the water and slows it down,â€ť Wayne Wilkerson, associate professor at MSU and one of the key designers of the whole project said. â€śOur goal is to treat and hold all water on site.â€ť
The sand filter was the second step in process. The wooden box at the front of the property collects water and filters it.
â€śThe sand filter is similar to the rain garden, except it is built out of impermeable materials, like wood, so it has a smaller footprint,â€ť Wilkerson said.
The projects have helped the museum become a more beautiful place, but itâ€™s also provided valuable experience for MSU students.
â€śThe landscape architecture department saw the museum as a situation that could well use this example of water treatment and they took it on as a project,â€ť Joan Wilson from the museum said. â€śThey and the landscape students did the whole thing. It will help with the drainage at the museum.â€ť
They hope to use the museum as an example for the community.
â€śWeâ€™re trying to make this a demonstration site to encourage traditional home owners to implement these strategies,â€ť Wilkerson said. â€śAs a result we had a new home in Greenbriar that embraced the use of rain gardens.â€ť
In the coming months, the museum will also tear out part of the parking lot and turn it into green space. And later in the year, the department will build a cistern to capture rain water at the museum.
â€śWe are very fortunate to have the expertise from the MSU campus,â€ť Wilson said.