UNH Begins Process of Updating Campus Master Plan

By Lori Gula
UNH News Bureau

December 3, 2002

News Editors: UNH officials and representatives from ASG will be available to answer your questions following the public forum at UNH Dec. 10.

DURHAM, N.H. -- The University of New Hampshire has begun the process of updating its Campus Master Plan, which involves an extensive review of the university's facilities, landscape and infrastructure, and establishes a vision for changes to the campus.

The update to the long-range master plan follows two years of development of the academic plan, and will ensure that future capital development and improvements support the university's ambitious academic vision.

"We had delayed updating the master plan so we could complete the academic plan. Now that it has been completed, and is undergoing a final review, we can ensure that the long-range master plan supports the academic plan," said David Hiley, provost and vice president for academic affairs, and chair of the Campus Master Plan Steering Committee.

The master plan was developed between 1990 and 1993, and was approved by the University System of New Hampshire Board of Trustees in spring 1994. It has guided the development that has occurred on campus in the last 10 years. Among the major projects that have been accomplished as a result of the existing plan are:

  • Construction of West Edge parking lot, which alleviated traffic and parking from core campus to help strengthen the walking campus concept.
  • Construction of Rudman Hall, which houses programs in the College of Life Sciences and Agriculture.
  • Construction of the Environmental Technology Building and redevelopment of the southwest quadrant.
  • Construction of the Whittemore Center Arena and UNH Recreation Center, and enhancement of athletic and recreation fields.
  • Construction of additional housing (Mills Hall), dining (Holloway Commons) and library space (Dimond Library).
  • Renovations to Pettee, Murkland, Spaulding and Kingsbury halls, all core academic buildings.
  • Detailed design work for the Loop Road, which when built, will alleviate traffic congestion through the core campus and provide greater access to campus.

However, there are several key aspects that were not adequately addressed or need reconsideration. These include:

  • A long-term plan for family housing (Forest Park).
  • Specific uses for university lands not considered part of the contiguous main campus lands.
  • Updating of the main campus land uses, to include continued development of the southwest quadrant and protection of the College Woods Natural Area.
  • Updating of parking and transportation needs, to include construction of two railroad underpasses, completion of the Loop Road, and improvements to the "gateway" to UNH -- Route 155A to Main Street.
  • A more specific landscape master plan.
  • Updating of space needs for certain branches, departments and programs at the university that have not been re-examined in the past few years.
  • Renovations to Demeritt, James, Nesmith and New Hampshire halls, all academic buildings.
  • A revised strategy to accommodate functions and activities in the wood frame houses on Garrison Avenue that need to be removed.

"As we move forward incrementally with new buildings, renovations, changes in land use, etc., it is essential to have a guide, a larger picture to ensure that individual projects fit and that the priorities of the academic plan, the Board of Trustees, and the university president are being followed," said Douglas Bencks, university architect and director of campus planning.

UNH will hold public forums and workshops focused on different aspects of the master plan. The first open forum/information session for UNH students, faculty and staff will be held Tuesday, Dec. 10, from 12:40 to 2 p.m. in the Memorial Union Building (MUB), Theatre II. Master plan consultants Ayers/Saint/Gross (ASG) of Baltimore will present an overview of the process and lead a discussion of issues and ideas that should shape the campus master plan. Community participation is essential to the success of this process and all are welcome.

The process of updating the master plan is expected to span more than a year, with a campuswide review of a draft report of the plan to begin in fall 2003, and a final report ready in the 2003-2004 academic year. For more information on the update, contact the Office of Campus Planning at (603) 862-2217.

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