Cars may not be welcome in the heart of campus if President Phil Oldham’s vision for a pedestrian greenway moves forward.
“Increasing green space is just one element being considered as we look at what is best for everyone on campus in terms of parking, traffic, safety and aesthetics,” Oldham said. “In general, the campus Master Plan emphasizes the greening of campus through the relocation of automobiles and related parking areas to the campus perimeter. This enhancement will allow for the development of a pedestrian-oriented campus.”
Oldham said Tech’s campus has long anticipated a Science Quadrangle, a set of buildings envisioned to be a key element of a renewed and transformative Master Plan for the campus.
“As the Flight Plan team works on how our campus of the future will look, we have the opportunity to break ground in the near future on the first building in that vision – the Science Building,” Oldham said.
Plans call for the Science Building to be located in the current Capital Quad parking area.
“It will allow us to take down Foster Hall which opens up new opportunities for green space in the parking area behind the Roaden University Center,” Oldham said.
Oldham said the changes are being considered definite.
“The Science Building was on the list for state approval for several years as part of our Master Plan, and we are now committed to moving forward,” Oldham said. “We are currently in the concept stage of how that building will be incorporated and how the surrounding area will be transformed.”
The planning of the Science Quadrangle and green space are not the only changes likely to come to campus.
“At this point, the [Flight Plan team] is still working to refine ideas and prioritize them,” Oldham said. “When we begin the fall 2013 semester we will share those with the campus.”
Students, faculty and staff can expect to see changes being put it into place within the next 18 months.
“If our funding sources are identified as planned, the groundbreaking on the Science Building could take place as soon as fall of 2014,” Oldham said.
A definite timeline for project completion has not been set by the University.
“Modernization will not come without increased funding, so the timeline is open-ended and will depend on our ability to find new sources of revenue,” Oldham said.
Oldham said the changes will have a large effect on students, faculty and staff.
“Any changes to the physical layout of campus should enhance our mission of serving students and providing the best educational experience possible. The changes must address the needs of all those groups in terms of parking and safety, as well as their desire for a comfortable and welcoming campus,” Oldham said. “Our goals for any change, including changing campus infrastructure, are to build on our strengths that differentiate us from other universities and to best serve our students.”
“I’d like students to know that Flight Plan is relevant to their future,” Oldham said. “When we improve this campus and the student experience, we increase the value of every degree we award. The physical changes are a relevant part of a bigger effort to define your university for the future.”