2012 Campus Master Plan Progressing
February 6th, 2012 - Filed under: Cover Story
The last time a campus master plan was adopted was 2007. In the five years since, enrollment surged, new buildings opened, the 168-acre Bryce hospital campus was added, and the April 27 tornadoes struck.
All these changes and events inform the shape of the 2012 campus master plan, which is still in the process of being finalized. In addition, the plan is shaped by 1,700 responses gathered in an online survey conducted last year, and by responses in meetings across campus where ideas were presented by master plan consultants and University Planner Dan Wolfe.
Wolfe has worked with other departments on campus, such as transportation services, and with the planning and architectural firm KPS Group, to prepare a master plan accommodating the needs of a growing student body while protecting the historical, natural and architectural beauty of campus.
Transportation and accessibility are also big concerns, he said. “Bike paths, sidewalks, foot paths, parking and roads are quite normal concerns, and we are addressing those in the plan as well.”
Darrell Meyer, a planning consultant with KPS Group, said integrating Bryce Hospital property into the campus plan is a priority. “We want to have one plan for the whole campus, not one for Bryce and one for the rest of UA,” he said. According to Wolfe, people want to know how planners will respect the Bryce property and its natural beauty.
The answer to that, Wolfe said, is to avoid overdevelopment and protect green space.
Several suggested uses for the Bryce property in addition to green areas include a welcome center, office and educational space, and facilities for the performing arts. The purchase agreement between the state department of mental health and the University stipulated that a museum dedicated to Bryce Hospital be developed. A museum dedicated to UA history has also been suggested, as well as much-needed display and storage space for existing art, natural history and special collections.
All adaptations will be based on the buildings now there, some of which are useable and some of which are in poor condition.
Campus master plans for both 2007 and 2012, according to Wolfe, are rooted in a philosophy of a traditional university. Buildings set in open spaces and the architecture, function and history of the buildings are an integral part of the University’s identity.
To make that philosophical vision a reality in the 2012 master plan, it must be adapted and refined as needed.Planners welcome additional input. The strategic concept found online includes a variety of diagrams and maps illustrating campus as it is now and as it is proposed to become. Faculty, staff, students, alumni and Tuscaloosa residents are invited to study the plan and send comments to Wolfe, who will share them with Meyer.
The plan will be presented to the board of trustees in June. After time to consider the plan, trustees will vote on it at a later board meeting.
To view the 2012 campus master plan strategic concept online, go to uafacilities.ua.edu/planning/pages/2012-master-plan-update.html.
To read a summary of the online survey responses, go to uafacilities.ua.edu/planning/information/2012-cmp-summary.pdf.
To comment on the master plan, email University Planner Dan Wolfe at email@example.com.
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