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Live oaks near McNeese State's new parking garage were removed because of security lighting, university officials said. ''We were originally trying to keep these young trees, but that was problematic for locating security lights for the parking garage,'' said university spokeswoman Candace Townsend. (Rick Hickman / American Press) <br>

Live oaks near McNeese State's new parking garage were removed because of security lighting, university officials said. ''We were originally trying to keep these young trees, but that was problematic for locating security lights for the parking garage,'' said university spokeswoman Candace Townsend. (Rick Hickman / American Press)

Live oaks sacrificed for McNeese parking garage

Last Modified: Saturday, March 16, 2013 8:45 PM

By Johnathan Manning / American Press

Live oaks near McNeese’s new parking garage were removed because of security lighting, university officials said.

“We were originally trying to keep these young trees, but that was problematic for locating security lights for the parking garage,” Candace Townsend, university spokeswoman, said.

She said ornamental trees would be planted in place of the trees that were removed. She said they would be “a variety that will not get as large as the live oaks but add color when they bloom along this stretch of property.”

Townsend said there are more than 300 mature live oaks on the McNeese campus.

She said the trees that were removed were not transplanted to another area because of concerns they would interfere with underground utilities.

Local preservationist Adley Cormier recently voiced disappointment that the trees were removed.

“It’s done, the tree community in Lake Charles” Cormier said. “Ever since Rita we’re really very cautious about trees. We do understand that some trees have to go through disease or injury or loss through hurricanes, but since Rita we’re very cautious about indiscriminate cutting of live oaks, which have proven their worth and merit through several centuries.”

He said he doesn’t put the onus on McNeese, but the parking garage designers.

“The design came after the trees were in,” he said. “It appeared for such a long time to passers-by, as the construction of the garage was going up, that the trees were going to be retained.”

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