Beloved Xavier trees become new benches


Catherine Robbins

Sister Lynn and Xavier’s administration decided to finally cut down the ash trees by the tennis courts due to termite damage, but are making new picnic benches out of the wood with the help of Ironwood Mills and C + D Industry.

Jenna Burch, Staff Writer

Xavier’s administration is elated to announce a recent improvement to Xavier’s campus. The sisters made the decision to cut down the ash trees in the grassy area by the tennis courts and to turn the wood from the trees into new picnic tables.

“There are several reasons why the trees needed to be repurposed,” said Sister Lynn Winsor.

The tree roots were growing underneath the tennis courts, shifting the ground and causing cracks in the courts that could be a safety hazard. The tree branches were also denting the fencing around the tennis courts and causing termite damage that was beginning to reach Brown Hall and Fitzgerald Hall.

As a result, Xavier had to pay approximately $10,000 to $15,000 to repair the tennis courts every summer. The sisters decided it was time for a permanent solution.

The Xavier community was invited to come to campus on Saturday, April 29, 2021, to watch Ironwood Mills, a local lumber workshop company, cut the trees with an Australian saw. This Australian saw was used to cut the trees vertically into planks that exposed the character and history within the wood, leaving a unique “live edge.”

The wood will be kiln-dried using iDRY vacuum kiln technology that helps the wood to dry with a uniformed finish, and then it will be sent to C + D Industry: Custom Wooden Garden Tables.

Founder of C + D Industry Chase Albright estimates that their company will be able to handcraft six picnic tables for students to eat lunch on and hopefully a few extra benches to place throughout campus.

The new wooden picnic tables will replace the current blue concrete picnic tables that have been in the grassy area since 1976, one year before the trees were generously donated by Xavier alumna Rowan O’Riley ‘78 and planted in 1977.

During the cutting process, C + D Industry found a Coca-Cola can embedded within one of the trees that had “probably been there for about 20 years” and a cherry seltzer can that a Xavier alumna “probably put in a nook of the tree and it stayed there for about seven years,” said Albright.

This entire project was entirely eco-friendly as every part of the tree was used and nothing was wasted. The sawdust produced during the cutting of the trees will be donated to the Arizona Worm Farm.

XERO Club (Xavier Environmental Response Club) moderator Catherine Robbins said, “The sawdust would normally just go into the landfill, so the fact that it’s now food for worms is a great thing.”

Current sophomore Maggie Wuycheck who sits at the same blue concrete picnic table that her mother Anne Wuycheck ‘88 sat at when she attended Xavier said, “Although I’m sad to see the trees and shade go, I am really excited that we’re still keeping the trees a part of our campus.”