Thursday, November 30, 2006

Campus Master Plan Digest

I know all of you attended the New Campus Master Plan Open Forum today in Dana Audit.... Ya, that's what I thought. Overall, I think the presentation was very intriguing just because of the sheer amount of research that has already been done. From interviews to topography maps to pedestrian traffic data, clearly the school has done its homework. The question is how to use the data to truly come up with a viable and progressive plan for the next 50 years at Middlebury. What buildings should be built? Should the college buy land? Will the Commons thing really happen? Here's a recap of what was discussed including some of the proposed ideas that the master planners/consulting agency came up with.

The Campus as Whole

  • The campus is divided into north campus (the Battell side of College street) and South Campus (the McCulluogh side of College street) with CFA and BiHall being the anchors
  • Battell Beach is essentially our main quad and it is huge compared to the "main quad" of many other schools of all sizes from Harvard to Chapel Hill
  • There are three types of buildings on campus: 1) Historic Buildings (Painter, Starr, Old Chapel) 2) Generic dorm buldings (Ross) and 3) Idiosyncratic Buildings (Atwater Dining, Johnson, Library
  • Goal = make buildings work and function together as a community (less idiosyncratic buildings that scream "look at me!")
The Future
  • Historically, we are in a time of growth. As the school expands its enrollment, the square footage of the school also has increased over time. On the current course, the college will add 50,000 square feet, every 10 years.
  • In the next 50 years, the school will need to address a number of issues with the physical space of the campus: 1) the campus is used year-round, in all types of weather, for a variety of purposes when it was built only for use during the school year, 2) Technically, the school has decided not to build any more buildings on campus until 2012 (but really?), 3) Right now, there is no such thing as "indoor-outdoor" multi-use space, and 4) The Commons plan must be completed.
  • Middlebury is mostly lawn and highway. We have more lawn space than Texas A&M with over 40,000 students compared to our couple thousand. We love our scenic views but really, there is no defining area on campus.
  • We want to lessen our ecological footprint while expanding the usable square footage of the school.
  • The college has more than enough land, currently to do what it needs in the next 50 years. We do not need to expand, buy more land, etc.
  • The key is to find the "accupuncture" way to build on campus, preserving views and being functional.
Commons
  • It will require 250,000 square feet to fulfill the strategic plan to complete the Commons system.
  • While our housing is really not that bad, students seem to see a lot of inequity among commons (they toured every living unit on campus and did interviews)
  • There are four types of commons-style living regions: enclosed, semi-enclosed, adjacent, and scattershot. Cook, Ross, and Atwater fall into the first three categories with lots of potential for strong regional proximity and therefore better identity, character, etc. Brainerd and Wonnacott are "scattershot" and the planners were amazed that the commons individuals held together at all.
  • In terms of physical space, Cook has a shortage of sophomore housing and Brainerd has a shortage of senior housing. Freshmen housing is surprisingly equitable.
  • Interviews show that students value a commons public open space (e.g., a quad) over commons senior housing and commons dining areas.
  • Goal = 1) make equitable housing for all class levels, 2) bring students who live near town back onto campus, 3) consolidate the commons into real definable regions, 4) each commons should get its own public space and dining hall
  • It's not out of the question to bring all of Brainerd and Wonnacott to the top of the hill, but it means ditching the mods, painter, starr, and voter.
Arts
  • Make the CFA a performing arts center only (theater and music)
  • Consolidate studio art and architecture into Johnson
  • Destroy (or renovate) Wright Memorial Theater and add an additional traditional theater to the back of the CFA
Transportation
  • 71% of people driving, go through the eastern bridge to campus, up college street
  • Look into a possible frequent shuttle for remote parking areas
  • Biking is a priority
  • Make a pedestrian friendly campus by possibly closing Old Chapel Road to traffic
More
  • The main arteries of the campus are BiHall to Library, Library to Atheletic Fields. The diagonals are the most traveled routes
  • Center of campus should be along that travel route = between Battell and Sunderland
  • Possibility of building new student center along the artery of campus
  • Commons shift could turn McCullough into a dining hall for Brainerd
  • One of many, many plans
  • It's all speculation right now... but all of the above is on the table, so far.

1 comment:

Hallie said...

i love how texas a&m is the example of what we don't want to look like...so true too, that is one ugly campus!

on the books...