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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Campus Master Plan Update?

The current comprehensive Campus Master Plan for the University of New Hampshire was approved in the spring 1994 by the Board of Trustees after a three year planning process. The plan complies with USNH policy which requires ". . . a comprehensive long-range plan that will guide the physical development of an institution for 20-years or more."

It's been nine years since that plan was approved and in the interim the University has recently completed a UNH Academic Plan. Consequently it has been an appropriate time to undertake a review of the Campus Master Plan. Also, several key aspects were not adequately addressed in that 1994 plan. These include: long-term planning for family housing, specific uses for University lands not considered part of the contiguous main campus lands, updating of the main campus land uses, updating of parking and transportation needs, a more specific landscape master plan, and updating for space needs for certain branches, departments, and programs of the University.

The Town of Durham also established a master plan in 2000, making the review of the UNH Campus Master Plan even more appropriate.

The Campus Plan Update process began in December 2002. It is scheduled to conclude in winter in 2004 with presentation and approval by the USNH Board of Trustees.
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What are the timeline and the funding sources associated with the Campus Master Plan Update?

The 20-year plan is being presented in a recommended phasing, which is dependent upon funding from a number of sources: state funds (the initial request being $96 million on tap for the 2004 Legislative session for the KEEP NH intitiative); HEAHFA (Higher Education and Health Facilities Authority) bonds supported by revenue from fees; federal grants for research buildings and transportation improvements; and private fundraising. The availability of funding will directly impact the specific projects based upon the phasing and priority of the projects within that phasing schedule.
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How much money has been spent on this latest master planning process?

About $300,000 has been spent on this process, which helps us make decisions about hundreds of millions of dollars worth of projects over the next 20 years.
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What are the guiding principles to this Campus Master Plan Update?

The plan will express the University's academic vision through better physical, learning, and teaching connections; it will support the daily life of the University; it will preserve the New England character of the natural and built environment; and it will strengthen the relationships among the University's communities.
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Who is involved in this process?

In the fall of 2002, the University hired Ayers Saint Gross, master plan consultants, to work with the UNH Office of Campus Planning. Additionally, three other sub consultants were contracted: Saucier & Flynn, landscape architecture; Howard Stein Hudson, transportation; and Anthony Blackett, space utilization.

The planning process has relied on two committees and a set of focus groups. Representatives of the Office of Campus Planning and the master planning consultants have guided the overall process, acted as group facilitators, and provided data and analysis.

The two committees are: steering and campus master planning.

The steering committee directs and approves for recommendation to the president the scope of the master plan, the goals and objectives of the plan, the master plan process, and the elements of the plan. It comprises the provost and vice president for student and academic affairs, executive assistant to the president, assistant vice president for facilities, faculty senate planning committee representative, vice president for finance and administration, vice president for research and public service, vice president for university communications, dean of the College of Life Sciences and Agriculture, a representative of the Durham Town Council with the Durham Town Administrator as alternate.

The campus master planning committee is much larger and represents all aspects of the community. The group is the sounding board for issues that need to be addressed and for discussions and presentations of options, considerations, and alternatives.

Focus groups were also held on the following topics: land use, space allocation, housing, landscape and ecology, transportation, and transportation policy.

Additionally, more than 100 constituent meetings have been held to date.
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How will the academic core be affected by the Campus Master Plan Update?

The academic core is key to the University's overall mission as stated in the Academic Plan. Maintaining a pedestrian campus is critical to fulfilling the University's stated principles. Generally, the rule of thumb is that it should take 10 minutes to walk to any class on the core campus. While the University anticipates flat enrollment growth over the next 20 years, there will be considerable growth to accommodate more on campus housing, expansion of research activities, and academic programs. This means that land within the Academic Core is very precious-both as sites for potential building expansion and as open, recreational, and natural spaces.

The above considerations received the input of committees, focus groups, and constituent groups. The resulting recommendations span the focus group topics. Here are some key recommendations:

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What about the visual and performing arts? Access to Paul Creative Arts (PCAC) is already a problem.

The Campus Master Plan recommends a renovation for Paul Creative Arts to ensure it remains the cultural center of the campus community. Visitor access will be enhanced by the nearby parking structure and immediate access to the facility, especially for those with physical disabilities, will be available.

Restricted access will accommodate both patrons and others who want to go to PCAC. For example, the new College Way will be able to accommodate school buses, cars dropping off people and equipment, cars needing accessible parking spaces, and all deliveries to the PCAC.
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How is landscaping addressed in the master plan?

The Campus Master Plan recommends that existing forest land and open space be maintained to enhance the living and learning environment. The plan calls for additional open space to be created through a consolidation of agricultural facilities currently spread along Main Street--moving the equine facilities to property adjoining the current dairy center, farther west along Main Street.

New pedestrian walkways and improved roadways will require enhanced landscaping and the Campus Master Plan recommends continued use of the existing tree inventory and its guidelines for planting of new trees and replacement of old.
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Will the ravine be restored?

The Ravine, once considered the back of the campus, will be sustained as a primary campus open space. Its central location within the campus makes it an important crossroads, gathering area, and educational resource. Its aesthetic enhancement and restoration of natural systems is crucial to the development of a vital and sustainable campus landscape.
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How will student housing be affected?

After the completion of Mills Hall and Congreve Hall reopened, UNH has the capacity to house 50 percent of the university's full-time undergraduates. But currently an additional 400 students are squeezed in to converted doubles to triples and in lounges, and transfer students not included. New facilities are needed immediately to accommodate this demand. In the future the university anticipates flat enrollment growth in the next 20 years (1/2% per year), but the university will strive to house at least 60 percent of the undergraduates, requiring over 1700 additional beds. In addition the planners have identified potential building sites for up to 2000 beds beyond that point. There are several existing student residences built in the 1960s-70s that have exceeded their life expectancy and need to be demolished, while many of the older dormitories will need major renovations over the next 20 years.

Planners have identified locations for new on-campus housing, all of which would be suite or apartment style housing. These locations are Forest Park, the Mini Dorms residence halls, along Garrison Avenue and near the Gables.

Four potential sites for replacement and expanded family housing have been identified, each capable of providing at least 100 units. These include Woodside apartments, which are currently used by undergraduates, along Mast Road by the old reservoir, Leawood Orchard on Mast Road, and off-campus in the vicinity of the intersection of Madbury Road and Garrison Avenue as proposed by representatives of the town. Further study will be done to assess each of these sites and to also consider the best location for child care facilities for the entire community

Land use around residence halls will be designed to encourage impromptu recreation in designated locations.
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Won't more family housing put a burden on the local school system?

The University has an agreement with the Oyster River School District to pay for children who live in Forest Park, and we will extend this to any future family housing provided by UNH. The financial terms of this agreement were created through the good faith efforts of both parties. If in the future this agreement is reconsidered, the University will again work in good faith with the school district.
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Will you keep any child care center near new UNH family housing?

We have a few options available for child care facilities, including some directly proximate to new family housing. More detailed discussions with community constituent representatives will continue on after the master plan is completed to keep child care convenient to those who live in family housing.
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Does UNH plan to buy more property in Durham for student housing?

The university has no such plan at this time.
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Can the fraternities and sororities move to on-campus housing?

Many players would need to be on board before this could happen. Several Greek organizations own their current houses, others have lease agreements. The town would need to work with these landlords to determine the types of reuse that would be allowed on their property and what will likely happen to these neighborhoods. In addition each greek organization will need to be engaged by the University in coming to an agreement to locate on University property.
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Why can't the University try to house 100 percent of its students instead of between 54 and 60 percent?

Even if the University provided enough housing to accommodate 100 percent of the students, not all students would choose to live on campus, and it is not anticipated that the University will ever require them to live on campus. As students become juniors and seniors, many want more independence and look to live off campus. In general this is good for the student's development and if done appropriately will be good for the local region. At the same time, the University wants to encourage students to live on campus for more of their time while at UNH. To encourage students to stay on campus the quantity, quality, and price of housing provided must balance with student expectations. There is no specific percentage of on campus housing that creates this balance, and further detailed analysis is required of student preferences, rental market conditions, and impact on student housing fees to determine a balancing point. The master plan calls for the creation of approximately 1,700 additional on campus beds over 20 years, which is expected to push the limits of attracting students to stay on campus while keeping on-campus housing competitively priced.
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What about the open space and natural environment?

The contiguous lands identified as Thompson Farm, East and Foss Farm, and MacDonald Block are a unique natural asset to the university because of their size, proximity to campus, and biodiversity. The university needs to highlight these assets as forested undeveloped open space in the community and as an important learning/teaching and recreational feature. The Burleigh DeMeritt and Bartlett Dudley Farms were acquired for their agricultural functions. For master planning purposes, there will be no land change for the foreseeable future, however the planners have not identified any appropriate program functions for the old farm houses, and the cost to preserve them as residences is beyond the university's available resources, so there needs to be further consideration of ways for UNH to deal with these buildings in a respectful way.
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What recommendations are being made regarding transportation?

Creating an efficient and safe campus network of roads-for cars, buses, bikes, and pedestrians--is of paramount concern to everyone in the university community and in the Town of Durham.

Parking and transportation ideas are being developed closely with those outlined in the Transportation Policy Committee's Report Given some of the constraints outlined above by requirements of the academic core changes are a given.
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Key findings:

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What about parking? Will there be an improvement, more spaces, parking garages?

Currently, the University maintains 6,450 parking spaces in lots large and small, scattered around campus. Existing parking accounts for 43 acres of University land, and, if all parking were to be combined in a single parcel of land, that parcel would cover the core academic campus entirely.

A two-tiered strategy is recommended to maintain the present ratio for parking at 38 percent of head count (students, faculty, and staff). This plan calls for the implementation of a Demand Management Program with the potential to reduce the parking ratio over time by: promoting alternatives to commuting by car such as mass transit, bicycle, ride sharing, and walking.

The Demand Management Program would create a zoned permit system; reallocate parking to conveniently located parking structures; and provide a realistic, tiered pricing system

Under the Campus Master Plan, we would initially strive to gain 600 additional spaces as identified in the TPC report adopted by UNH in 2003. Over time it is anticipated that the number of spaces could be reduced as more students are housed on campus and alternative transportation programs are improved. With the construction of the two proposed parking structures, we would regain the use of 7 acres of valuable land, primarily in the core campus. These parking structures at A Lot) and B Lot will accommodate 1,688 and 735 spaces, respectively.
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So, will UNH become a walking campus?

Enhancing pedestrian circulation on campus is important to developing and sustaining a high quality of campus life. Thoughtful separation of the pedestrian and automobile enriches the campus experience and provides opportunity to create meaningful gathering areas and intimate niches. The consistent use of paving materials and site furnishings unifies the campus and reinforces the unique character of the campus landscape.

Closure of College Road, contingent upon the successful relocation of the present Durham Fire Station, will result in the creation of College Way, a primary pedestrian route in the Academic Core.

Library Way is considered a Primary Campus Walkway. To the west, Library Way would extend through the railroad underpass and provide safe pedestrian connection to the field house and the Entrepreneurial Campus. In an easterly direction, Library Way would end at the entrance to the MUB.

Demeritt Way would extend in a southerly direction across College Way and McDaniel Drive terminating the walk in the area of Forest Park and the Mini-Dorms.

As the east campus matures it will be important to enhance pedestrian connection from the quadrangle defined by the MUB, Mills, and Huddleston halls to the Christensen and Williams quadrangle. The promenade would be designed as a Primary Campus Walk and vehicular traffic should be limited to service vehicles and the campus shuttle service.

University Trail is a cohesive trail system that winds its way through the core campus and in some locations overlays the existing campus pedestrian circulation system. Inspired by the University's Sustainable Trail Program, the University Trail will be designed to connect the academic core of the campus with the Northwest Woods, The College Woods, downtown Durham, future faculty and staff housing sites and distant properties such as the Thompson Farm. It is a thematic trail designed to underscore and enlighten users as to the University's comprehensive effort to develop a sustainable campus environment.

Through the use of consistent paving treatments, site details, furnishings and interpretive signage, the trail (as well as all other pedestrian ways) will provide an opportunity to experience the campus' unique open space system.
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How will traffic patterns change?

Current traffic patterns allow for vehicle access to nearly all campus buildings. A careful combining of transit patterns, service access, and emergency egress will serve to remove most vehicular traffic from within the Academic Core, thus enhancing the pedestrian experience and ensuring pedestrian safety. And, with the addition of two major parking structures, pedestrian walkways and mass transit will become the most efficient means of moving around campus.
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What about access to the Entrepreneurial Campus?

The proposed design and construction of the Southern Underpass is a key element of the Campus Master Plan that will connect the core campus with the western "entrepreneurial" campus which will continue to be expanded. The southern underpass will be an open connecting walkway from the current Forest Park area of the campus, crossing over the railroad tracks and connecting the western side of the campus to the core. The "entrepreneurial" campus is the connection between ongoing research that intersects with existing and future business and industry needs that would lead to collaborative spin-offs such as Chaoticom. The expansion of the unique triad of research, teaching and business on the UNH entrepreneurial campus will provide continued expansion of the university's economic engine on the state.
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What about first impressions … Visitor Experience and Gateway to the University?

Campus planners consider the visitor experience to be a critical issue that needs to be a key piece of the master plan. Several ideas have been proposed for a visitor center/admissions/visitor parking area. They include a development along Main Street from A Lot (in front of a new parking structure) to New Hampshire Hall, a new building tucked into the hillside adjacent to Thompson Hall and Hamilton Smith Hall, or an addition to Grant House.

One of the most critical first impressions for those visiting the University is how they enter the campus i.e., the gateway. There is a need to accentuate key gateways (vehicular and pedestrian) to provide orientation and convey a sense of arrival or transition.
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What is the process?

The Campus Master Plan steering committee will assimilate all of the feedback and comments from the two public hearing days (October 15 & 16) and make revisions in the proposed plan. The recommended Campus Master Plan will then be presented to the USNH Board of Trustees in late winter of 2004 for their acceptance and approval.
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How can I stay informed?

Visit the Office of Campus Planning on the Web at to read the online newsletter and to access the many campus planning documents, including the Master Plan Update schedule. You can e-mail comments about the Master Plan Update to them and subscribe to get their newsletter.
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