The State of Connecticut and the University of Connecticut (UConn) have invested $2 million to create a masterplan for the UConn campus that will include a new science building and residence hall. The masterplan will be chosen from among three finalists - Michael Dennis & Associates, NBBJ and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill - and then subject to numerous public meetings in which professors, staff, students and community members will be encouraged to provide their input.
Learn more after the break...
Gothic towers, arches, brick walkways and gates — the ingredients for a university, right? Laura Cruickshank, former Facilities Planning and Construction planner at Yale, and newly hired master planner at UConn, thinks it is a bit more complicated than that.
"I'm definitely concerned with the 'look and feel,' says Cruickshank, and coming from Yale, "there's a definite 'look and feel.' You knew where you were. I think that's something we can improve upon here."
But it goes beyond aesthetics. The $2 million joint investment is part of a larger, $1.5 billion initiative, 'Next Generation Connecticut' expecting to increase undergraduate enrollment by 30 percent, with half of the students going into STEM disciplines. The University hopes to attract top science, technology and engineering professors by providing first-rate facilities on campus.
The new plan will also incorporate more effective walkways and bikeways on roads immediately surrounding the campus. By cutting down on vehicular traffic, the university can improve the safety of pedestrians, especially at night.
Preserving and creating gathering spaces on campus is another concern of Cruickshank. "It shouldn't just be about going from here to there to go to class. It should be an experience as people move through the campus that fosters interaction."
The final master plan is expected to be completed in December of 2014.