The University of Colorado at Boulder releases a draft of its new campus master plan, which aims at addressing university growth issues.
The new campus master plan, updates the previous master plan approved in the spring of 2001, and will be implemented in order to keep the university on track with achieving its flagship 2030 strategic plan.
According to the campus master plan website, “the planning department is working with many different campus and community constituents to create a truly transparent process.”
These constituents include the Boulder Campus Planning Commission, a committee consisting of faculty, staff and students that give advice to the chancellor regarding campus development matters. Also consulted were the city and county of Boulder and a series of eight task forces made up of faculty, staff and students.
The university also commissioned outside consultants, such as LSC Transportation Consultants, to report on issues of transportation and space needs.
One factor that contributed to the new master plan was an examination of CU’s need for expanded space in comparison to other universities in the Association of American Universities.
Paul Leef, Campus Architect and Director of Facilities Management, said the university has much less space than other comparable universities.
“We actually have about a third less space per student FTE [full-time equivalent] than a lot of our peer research institutions like Washington, Arizona, Kansas, Wisconsin, places like that,” Leef said.
Leef also said that building isn’t the solution to the problem.
“But we also realize that we can’t really build our way out of these deficits because whenever we build more we still need more,” Leef said.
An integral part of the new master plan, according Chancellor Phil Distefano, concerns having the university evolve in an ecologically sound and sustainable manner using new technology and processes.
“Sustainability means something different than it did 10 years ago,” Distefano said on the campus master plan website. “Today it means carbon neutrality and commitment to LEED gold-certified energy efficient buildings. Sustainability will be an overarching theme of the master planning process.”
Philip Simpson, Assistant Director for Facilities Planning, said the master plan presents a draft and is open to amendment.
“The plan is still subject to modification,” Simpson said. “[Wednesday] starts a 30-day comment period where we will be accepting and tracking comments. At the conclusion, we will be making changes and corrections and resolving any issues that might still be unresolved. In May, we will then take a corrected version through the approval process, to the Regents in September and the Colorado Commission on Higher education in November.”
Simpson said the plan intends to look for ways to use existing facilities more efficiently.
“Our need is greater than our ability to fund it,” Simpson said. “Part of the plan is to look at ways to use our existing facilities better, including renewing more of our older buildings.”
Simpson said there is a source of funds that can be used for this process.
“As to the source of funds, it will be all the same sources that are used today — some State funds, research dollars from indirect cost recovery, housing room and board, student fees for student funded projects like the UMC, Wardenburg and Rec. Center, parking fees, and other similar sources,” Simpson said.
Jason Clymer, a 37-year-old graduate student education major, said he thinks that campus design has progressed well.
“I think it’s a beautiful campus,” Clymer said. “I think they’ve done a good job of keeping a pretty aesthetic theme and also having some diversity in the way that it looks.”
Clymer said his biggest concern is lack of spaces to study near his classes.
“The library can be crowded, and also distant from where I need to be on campus,” Clymer said. “When it’s four degrees, and finals week, it can be really tough to find a place to work quietly.”
Organizers of the new campus master plan were available at an open house on Wednesday to answer questions and comments.
The open house, held on campus at the Center for Community, displayed approximately 40 poster boards with graphic representations of different aspects of the campus master plan.
Among these exhibits, each with an attendant notepad provided for community input, were displays for Academic Land Use, Residential Land Use, Outdoor Spaces, Flooding Potential Areas, and Existing and Proposed Bicycle Networks.
The community was invited to the event and encouraged to voice their opinion.
Contact CU Independent staff writer Thomas Cuffe at Thomas.firstname.lastname@example.org