More than 220 faculty, staff and students gathered yesterday in the Alumni Memorial Union for an interactive master planning workshop – an event that moved forward the university’s yearlong process to preserve, enhance and transform its physical structures, infrastructure, and academic and student life space.
In opening remarks, President Michael R. Lovell said, “We have so many needs on our campus – physical structures and space needs that need to be addressed. One of the challenges is that we have to prioritize these needs, and we need the whole campus community to do that.”
Facilitated by representatives from SmithGroupJJR, the university’s new master planning consultant, attendees at 22 tables analyzed campus maps and discussed which buildings and spaces on campus need to be preserved, enhanced or transformed.
Lively conversations gave way to each of the groups sharing its top-level findings. While there were some outliers, clear themes emerged.
Popular spaces to preserve included the St. Joan of Arc Chapel, the three buildings that comprise the university’s Historic Core, and newly constructed facilities, such as Eckstein Hall, Engineering Hall and Zilber Hall. The groups generally felt that the AMU, Rec Center, the older engineering facilities, and the campus’ parking and pedestrian corridors would be best served through enhancements.
The groups also identified opportunities to entirely transform campus structures, including Straz Hall, McCormick Hall and the various science-related buildings.
Lora Strigens, associate vice president for finance and university architect, emphasized that construction and demolition crews won’t begin work any time soon, underscoring the importance of the entire master planning process, which will integrate academic, physical and financial priorities to serve as a road map for Marquette’s capital projects during the next 15-20 years.
“This is a tremendous time for the university, but it’s also a tremendous responsibility,” she said. “We’re building a planning culture at Marquette, and we will deliver a plan that tells a sophisticated story about the future of our institution.”
According to Strigens, SmithGroupJJR has already conducted two half-day tours of all student life facilities and academic buildings, as well as a walking tour to observe the campus landscape, pedestrian circulation and outdoor gathering spaces. Further, between their September and October visits, the consultants will have held more than 20 focus interviews with key campus representatives.
Additionally, the master planning steering committee this summer named 10 working groups and campus representatives to lead each one. The working groups and their respective chairs are:
- Campus Environment – Chris Gluesing, Facilities Services
- Campus Support & Administrative Resources – Kathy Lang, ITS
- Facilities & Infrastructure – Mike Jahner, Facilities Services
- Fiscal Stewardship – Mel Austin, Office of Finance
- Health & Wellness – Mike Broeker, Department of Intercollegiate Athletics
- Outreach & Engagement – Tom Pionek, Office of Marketing and Communication
- Teaching & Learning – Gary Meyer, Office of the Provost
- Research & Innovation – Timothy Melchert, University Academic Senate
- Student Experience – Jeff Janz, Division of Student Affairs
- Sustainability – Chris Gluesing, Facilities Services
Over the next few months, these groups and the consultants will continue to gather and synthesize data. A second campus-wide event where various scenarios and alternatives will be presented will be held in April. The complete master plan is expected to be presented in early fall of 2016.