Intercom Online......August 13, 1998

Plan for University Park looks
at three areas in closer detail

By Lisa M. Rosellini
Public Information

A detailed look at three areas on the University Park campus, as part of the master planning process, shows several options under consideration -- including moving the Creamery, removing buildings and creating more open lawn areas.

As part of the campus's master plan, consultants are now focusing on three specific or subcampus areas (see maps on page 4) in greater detail. The master plan is expected to guide development on campus over the next three decades and the areas chosen for review are those where the most growth is anticipated. All three areas are located near the core of campus and play critical roles in how the campus is perceived and functions. During a July 29 public discussion of the plans, the consulting team outlined three potential alternatives for each of the three subcampus areas. The areas include: the "Hammond block," the "agricultural block" and the "science block."

Hammond Block

This block, an 18-acre area roughly bounded by Burrowes and Pollock roads, the mall and College Avenue, is home to the colleges of Engineering and Earth and Mineral Sciences. The block is dominated by the Hammond Building -- which has long been considered a barrier separating the campus from town. The most significant changes proposed for this area would include the removal of up to one-third of the Hammond Building at Fraser Street; the removal of engineering buildings A, B, C, D and E; the construction of the Alumni Center in the rear of the existing University House; and the demolition of the north and south wings of Sackett Building. The loss of space because of these removals could be made up in future building zones identified by the consultants. These include a 'T-shaped' addition to the East Electrical Engineering Building, a new addition to the northside of the West Electrical Engineering Building and a new facility along the backside of Hammond.

Consultants envision opening up the "tunnel-like" area of the Hammond Building at Fraser Street where pedestrians currently walk underneath a portion of Hammond by making it wider than it is currently. This opening would allow pedestrians to see the new Alumni Center, the former presidents' house (University House) and a garden area.

Although earlier planning discussions proposed moving some engineering classrooms to the 53-acre West Campus (across North Atherton Street), that idea has been scaled back because of concern about increasing pedestrian movement across Atherton.

Agricultural Block

The option preferred for the 21-acre agricultural block, bounded by Park Avenue, Shortlidge, Curtin and Bigler roads (including Lot 80), incorporates a large green space along Park Avenue (about 10-acres between Shortlidge and Bigler). The open space would tie in with the proposed 360-acre arboretum directly across the street. Improving the appearance of the proposed main campus entrance off Park Avenue on Shortlidge Road, which is currently dominated by a service entrance to North Halls, also was mentioned for this block, as well as adding wings to Mitchell Building and constructing a 1,000-car parking deck with the potential for putting greenhouses on its roof.

Also being considered is the shifting of the University Creamery a block from its current location on Curtin (near Shortlidge), eastward toward Bigler Road so that it could be incorporated within the new food science building planned for this area. In all, seven possible future building zones which result in 638,000 square feet of additional space have been identified for this block.

Science Block

The science block, a 24-acre stretch containing a number of buildings such as Mueller, Pond, Buckhout, Osmond and Fenske, is roughly bounded by Shortlidge, Pollock and Curtin roads and Pond Lab. The option most preferred by campus groups included removing a portion of Osmond Laboratory and converting the parking lots behind Whitmore Lab into a large open space facing the Hetzel Union Building, which would link the HUB with Ag Hill. The demolition of the existing Paul Robeson Cultural Center, which is being replaced as part of the HUB construction project, opens up the possibility of adding buildings to this area with a net increase in capacity of 261,000 square feet.

In addition, planners recommended that the three historic cottages (Pine, Birch and Spruce) found in this block be removed or relocated (if feasible) to an area near the Centre Furnace Mansion or a historic district in town. The historic facade of Ritenour Building also should receive a facelift.

"There are a wide range of options and this is just the first cut," said Dick Rigterink, a planner with Johnson, Johnson & Roy -- the lead consultants hired to update the master plan. "We are after the community's broad reactions to what has so far been proposed. I don't think any of these options is perfect and this is certainly a dynamic process."

This is the sixth open meeting the consulting team has held. In the near future, the University also will begin a transportation demand management analysis, that will look at transportation issues involving bikes, buses, parking and parking fees, among other things.

The consultants will be back on campus during the second week of October with a refined version of the three subcampus plans. A final report on the entire master plan is expected to be presented sometime in early 1999.

WHY A MORE DETAILED LOOK?

The following needs for each of the three subcampus areas have been identified as reasons more detailed plans are warranted:

Hammond Block:

1) To mitigate the adverse impact of Hammond Building as a wall along College Avenue

2) To strengthen the north/south link between town and campus

3) To integrate new Alumni Center

4) To define future building sites

Ag Block:

1) To create a visual tie with the proposed arboretum

2) To provide new academic building sites

3) To alleviate parking needs

Science Block

1) To create new development opportunities, particularly for the chemistry department

2) To respect the differences between Ag Hill buildings and the science buildings (which tend to be more industrial looking and several stories high)

3) To upgrade and prioritize pedestrian routes in this area; currently, walkways are maze-like

4) To redefine and connect open spaces

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