Students Give Input on U Development

By and

It’s time to update the U’s development plan, again.

Students and community members got a chance to participate in the U’s Long Range Development Plan on May 28 along with administrators, in the first of a series of meetings to discuss the issue.

The workshops are a way for students and the public to engage in the process of long-term development at the U.

The goal of the meetings is to update the plan in accordance with the new goals and developments of the U.

The plan is updated every five years.

The U retained Hanbury Evans Wright & Vlattas and ajc architects to provide campus land-planning services for the five-year update of its 1997 Long Range Development Plan.

There are a number of issues the 2003 plan wishes to address.

The U’s golf course, for example, is one of the U’s largest land banks, and the meeting introduced discussion of possibly starting development on it.

Brent Morris, the U’s consultant on wayfaring signage and graphics, says he wants to develop a system of signage simple enough for everyone to understand.

“There are 1,978 signs on campus,” he said.

In general, the consensus is that such issues can create confusion, according to Anne Racer, director of facilities planning.

As the U covers 1,500 acres and services 44,000 people, the plan’s aim is to use its resources as effectively as possible to accomplish the U’s academic mission.

The plan is unique in that it comes about through participation of the administration, faculty, students and various public groups.

Many of the new developments the U now enjoys are the result of the 1997 planning process.

Some of the implementations of the 1997 plan were the Heritage Commons-which also served as athlete housing during the 2002 Winter Olympics-the 2002 George S. Eccles Legacy Bridge and many other new buildings.

The Eccles Bridge was labeled among “Big, Hairy, Audacious Goals”-a good idea which no one though would happen, but did.

“The plan has served the U well in establishing land-planning guidelines to maintain the environment of the U campus while achieving academic needs and goals,” Racer said in a recent interview.

This year’s plan addresses many issues, such as the density of buildings, environmental concerns, perception of space and aesthetics and slope analysis and vehicular access, among other things.

The plan has a 20-year range.

“Student participation is absolutely critical to our planning,” Racer said. “Many student ideas [in the 1997 process] led to projects that were implemented.”

Many of the amenities in the Heritage Commons, for example, were student ideas that became realities.

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