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Campus planning team offering three views of future (Released: 10/11/96)

by Richard Veilleux, Office of University Communications.

STORRS, Conn. -- The UCONN 2000 Master Plan will take the University of Connecticut well into the 21st century. Representatives of the consulting team working with UConn officials to provide a vision for the campus layout will visit the University next week to present three preliminary plans and gather input on the ideas from a wide range of constituencies, including faculty, staff, and students.

Steven Troost, project manager for Johnson, Johnson and Roy of Ann Arbor, Mich., Barry Svigals, of the New Haven-based design firm Svigal's Inc., and Barbara Chance of Chance Management, a Philadelphia, Pa. firm that specializes in parking and transportation systems, along with other members of their firms will be in Storrs for three days during the week. They will meet with the University's Master Planning Advisory Committee, the University Senate's Growth and Development Committee, UConn's vice presidents, and what they hope will be a large contingent of faculty, staff, students and community members during an Oct. 15 open campus meeting, scheduled to be held in the Student Union Ballroom from 5-8 p.m.

The three plans offer an early glimpse at what the planners think UConn can be, says Larry Schilling, executive director of facilities management, including different looks at the center of campus, new road and utility layouts, and options for the placement of new buildings.

All three options, Schilling says, close center campus to vehicular traffic. One option creates a pedestrian mall where Fairfield Road now exists; another replaces Fairfield Road with a combination of new buildings and open space; and the third locates buildings on the perimeter of the road, creating a green quad.

The three themes to be presented are:

  • An urban/pastoral theme, that creates a campus with a dense inner core, surrounded by a more pastoral setting for buildings located outside the core. Extensive, open lawns would blanket the campus core to the north, south and east;
  • A village theme that identifies the character of particular areas of campus and builds "villages" to distinguish them. Examples include the Technology Quad, the historical center of campus, and smaller scale residential areas. Each village would relate to a strong campus center or forum;
  • And an Academic Way theme, which organizes the campus around a pedestrian oriented "Main Street," enlivened by consolidating academic activities on either side. The street would provide a safe and pleasurable pedestrian access from the north end of campus to the south.

The plans also attempt to alleviate conflicts between cars and pedestrians that the current campus layout creates, Troost says. Vehicular traffic, which generally runs east to west, and pedestrian traffic, which most often runs north to south, makes crossing campus less friendly than it should be, he says. The plans also try to alleviate conflicts created by traffic patterns that force cars entering campus to wind their way between buildings to reach parking lots, and suggest the possible addition of more than the two parking garages currently planned under UCONN 2000.

"This is a beginning toward the completion of a final master plan that will guide UConn into the 21st century," said Barry Svigals, principal, Svigals & Associates. "The people at the University have been, and will continue to be, vitally involved in the master planning process."

After the series of meetings, Schilling says, the firms will return to the drawing board, cast aside some ideas, add others, and merge pieces of each into new plans. He expects the team to return again in December.

This will be the sixth campus visit for teams from the planning and design firms, who expect to continue making trips to Storrs every few months until a final plan is presented in October 1997. Meanwhile, they are in regular contact with Schilling, and are involved in the site selection process for projects that must begin before the final report is completed.