New Master Plan Provides Framework for Growth, Change
Contact: Jeff Murphy
WARRENSBURG, MO (Jan. 22, 2009) – A new master plan that is aligned with the institution’s vision and provides a framework for physical growth and change over the next 10 years was adopted today by UCM.
The plan was formally approved Jan. 22 by the Board of Governors, concluding a campus-wide research and development process that began in November 2007, under the leadership of President Aaron Podolefsky. Betty Roberts, vice president for administration and finance who oversees university facilities, appointed a master plan committee, which worked in cooperation with the Overland Park, KS, architectural firm Gould Evans Associates to create the plan. Vital input was provided by UCM faculty, staff and students who participated in efforts such as surveys, focus groups, and town hall meetings. The plan provides a guide for long-term strategic decisions, although it will be subject to revisions as conditions dictate.
“I want to thank everyone who participated in this process, especially Dr. Roberts and her staff members, who committed countless hours to this process,” the president said. “Because of such efforts, we have a dynamic document that identifies many exciting possibilities for making our campus an even better place to work and learn.”
The university has a long tradition of master planning. UCM’s last comprehensive master plan was developed in 1996 and updated in-house in 1999 and 2002. Since that time, there have been significant changes in Central Missouri’s program needs and in physical limitations related to space.
According to Dennis Strait, managing principal for Gould Evans who has led town meetings and presentations to the Board of Governors, the plan was created with guiding principles that include: creating an academic village that advances the university vision, addressing environmental stewardship and energy sustainability, promoting a campus community that enhances connections with the local community, and making improvements that can help UCM achieve its vision to become a world-class university.
Such improvements to the physical campus include the proposed construction of a new science building west of the James C. Kirpatrick Library. This would create a new quadrangle on the south side of campus, while providing a facility that provides better classroom, laboratory and research facilities, Strait said.
“If you want to move closer to becoming a world-class institution, you should have a science building that is consistent with that goal,” he told the campus during a December town meeting.
Once a new a new science building is constructed, he said the current W.C. Morris Building could be used as “swing” space for temporary classrooms and other activities that are necessary during future campus development. A new performing arts center is also proposed on the north side of campus as a way to better create an arts corridor and connect the university with downtown Warrensburg.
The master plan addresses residential life improvements. The university has plenty of rooms for students, but the plan will help guide the institution in providing housing that meets today’s students’ expectations, including needs for more social space and private study space. It proposes the demolition and replacement of the fraternity complex and Hawkins Hall, and construction of a new 320-bed residence hall.
“It is not a question of do you have enough beds, but do you have the right kind of beds,” Strait said.
These are just a few of many possibilities outlined in the plan. It also identifies improvements related to pedestrian/vehicular traffic; parking; arboretum zones; non-contiguous parcels of land, including areas such as the airport, campus farms and Pertle Springs; vegetation; indoor and outdoor athletic/recreational facilities; the campus arrival sequence; exterior signage; and more.
Although the master plan outlines many areas where the campus can be strengthened through new development, funds for most of these major improvements are not currently available. The university must continue to pursue funding from private, federal and state sources to achieve master plan objectives.