Forum informs campus on 20-year master plan

Dec. 11, 2013

Changes include four new residence halls, dining hall

By Jacqueline Schaefer

It has been nearly two decades since the university has updated it’s master plan.  Chinnis

Sally Chinnis of the Ayer Saint Gross architecture firm presented an open forum on the 2014 campus master plan on Wed. Dec. 4 and Thurs. Dec. 5.  A master plan is an overreaching, 20-year-scope plan to make changes to improve the university. The plan is still in its developing stages with hopes to be complete by the end of the 2013-14 academic year.

The plans biggest changes for campus are the addition of four new residence halls, a new dining hall to replace Esker, an addition to Hyer Hall, a new academic building on the Carter Mall between the Center of the Arts and McCutchan Hall and renovations to the Center of the Arts, the Williams Center, the Anderson Library, Winther Hall, Heide Hall, and Roseman Hall.

The new academic building will most likely serve as a new Welcome Center as many have expressed that the current Welcome Center is not a good representation of the campus. The building may also serve as an Alumni Center as some consider the Alumni Center located near Hyer Hall a not grand enough location for such a place.

Because Esker Dining Hall serves a large portion of students on a daily basis along with providing food for all the summer programs housed at Whitewater, a new dining hall will be built before Esker is renovated. Eventually Esker will be made into a new dining hall.

UW-Whitewater is one of the few universities whose enrollment grew this year and is still projected to grow. In order to accommodate new students, the university needed to add new spaces to house them.

“We need more space but the cost to renovate Wells would be prohibitive,” Chinnis said.

Therefore the plan entails abolishing the towers and instead replacing it with four residence halls that would each have approximately five to six stories in an effort to achieve energy goals.

One goal of the master plan is to connect the East and West sides of campus which are separated by the drumlin. The new academic building on the Carter Mall will have a second story exit to the drumlin, similar to the UC, hopefully bridging the gap between the East and West sides.

The main goal of the master plan is to improve the campus for everyone.

“It’s important to look at the campus as a whole and not as separate parts,” Campus Facilities Planner Tami McCullough said. “We have to keep in mind who’s going to benefit as a whole- for us and for those who come after us.”

The faculty, staff and students present raised other concerns about issues such as the large amount of traffic on Starin Road and whether or not the new buildings will be LEED certified. Chinnis said that the committee is looking at redoing the commuter parking space to hopefully decrease traffic and they will not build raised pedestrian crossways. Chinnis also said sustainability is important but the plan does not currently include a LEED certification goal.

Chinnis and her collogues have been working since last year to develop the master plan. They focused on several themes including space, identity and community. In order to develop their plan, they looked at Whitewater’s current natural system which includes the topography and land space and the university’s built system which includes buildings and parking.

“We’re trying to find ways to up the quality and plan for the future,” Chinnis said.

McCullough is pleased with the progress made on the plan but would appreciate more student input.

“I would love to see more student input which is why we’re continually working to get the word out about the open forums,” McCullough said.

The next meeting for the campus master plan will be in February. The committee hopes to have the space needs assessment completed along with other data and budgeting information.

“If we can get things aligned and overlaid then we can present a clear picture for everyone,” said McCullough.

 

 

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