The following article was published on April Fools’ Day 2016:

When students return to campus for the fall 2016 semester, they might notice a few changes to Illinois State’s iconic Quad—most notably the absence of one entire side.

University officials announced Friday plans to convert Illinois State’s Quad into the country’s first “Tri,” shorthand for a three-sided public green space at the center of campus.

Remaking the Quad into the Tri was not originally in the vision to reshape Illinois State’s 1,000-acre campus. Yet as plans to demolish unused campus buildings and begin construction of a new fine arts complex came to fruition, administrators saw redefining the Quad as a timely opportunity, said Elaine Plum, Illinois State’s senior chief grounds planner.

“If Quads are a dime a dozen, then Tris are at least a quarter a dozen.” —Erik Colcord

While controversial, the plan has been hailed as an innovative way to differentiate the Illinois State campus and recruit the next generation of Redbirds. Currently, 92 percent of U.S. college campuses have a Quad. Illinois State will be one of the first to feature a Tri.

“Illinois State actively seeks to recruit the best and brightest students,” said Erik Colcord, vice dean of student retention. “Everything we can do to differentiate campus matters. If Quads are a dime a dozen, then Tris are at least a quarter a dozen.”

Friday’s announcement was met with widespread skepticism from the student body. Yet some applauded the plan.

“I have never been a big fan of the Quad,” said Anthony Cezaro, a sophomore in the Department of Bureaucratic Studies. “It was greed and excess in the first place that led to us having a green place with four sides. If the bloated Quad hadn’t been cut down to size now, who knows how far it could have gone? One day students might be forced to trudge across a ‘Quint’ or a ‘Sext’ to get to class.”

Try the Tri signage

Friday’s announcement was met with widespread skepticism from the student body.

Critics worried about the fate of the Quad’s many trees, which are part of the Fell Arboretum, need not worry. Administrators and faculty have arranged that any tree removed be repurposed as building materials for a campus ecology center, which will be placed on the former southeast section of the Quad.

“When I first heard of the plans to demolish part of Illinois State’s green space, I was outraged,” said Doug Meadows, professor of arboreal and ecological studies. “However my colleagues and I soon realized that these beautiful trees could be recycled into beautiful logs, and that those beautiful logs could become the beautiful walls for our campus ecology center.

“I can think of no better setting to teach the importance of ecology and preservation,” he added.

Clearing up confusion

The northwest corner of the 490-acre Quad will vanish, replaced with new premium parking spaces for students. Permits will cost more than other areas of campus due to its central location, with proceeds earmarked for new scholarships. The remaining 245-acre triangle on the southeast corner of the former Quad will become the Tri.

To alleviate possible confusion between the new Tri and the Tri Towers—Haynie, Wright, and Wilkins halls—a fourth tower will be constructed on West Campus. The fourth tower will be named Milner Hall after the University library named after Ange Milner. Once construction of Milner Hall is complete, officials plan to retire the moniker Tri Towers and refer to the new complex as the Quad.

“That way, it’s 100 percent clear,” said Plum.

Demolition of the central campus Quad is scheduled to begin after spring commencement. A grounds planning subcommittee is currently live-trapping all squirrels for relocation and deciding on the color scheme campus lumberjacks and lumberjills will wear.

No word yet on whether those hired for the project will be required to have a beard or if they will be provided with one.

Quad Tri animated GIF

Steven Barcus can be reached at

6 thoughts on “April Fools’ Day: Illinois State to convert Quad into nation’s first Tri

  1. James Leonard says:

    Shame on all of you for planning to destroy this natural setting and historic quad. I graduated from ISU in the early 1970’s. Now, my granddaughter plans to go there. I will do everything I can to convince her to select another university. Yup…. we need more cement on campus…. gotta park more cars ya know! Enough already!
    April Fools………………………………………. 8D

    1. Christina Rudloff says:

      I sadly fell for this. Yikes!

  2. Ann Schick says:

    Great writing, sad story! I’m bummed to hear part of the quad will be gone. However, it will make ISU’s campus unique. It’s too bad we’ll be losing some of those beautiful old trees. I do hope “beards” are listed as a requirement on the employment applications. 🙂

  3. Sam says:

    Good to know ISU has a sense of humor!

  4. John Narish says:

    How can anyone in their right mind think that this is a good idea. Who cares that it will be one of the first tri spaces. The thought of that is rediculous, the quad is a beautiful space with flurshing green space, and now that want to get rid of it for what, Money! In that case they will not get any more of mine. This will make the once most beautiful quads on any campus an ugly parking lot. All for that mighty dollar. You people who planned this disgust me. ISU is no longer the place of higher learning, it is a place where the all mighty buck is the only thing that counts. Hey here is an idea, and it would make ISU unique, let’s make the entire quad a parking lot. You who planned and supported this should be ashamed of yourselves.

  5. Amy says:

    And… Now I feel stupid. April fools, right??