Campus Master Plan Working Group Minutes
February 16, 2011, Highsmith University Union Room 224, 9:00-11:00 am
Rob Nelson, consultant and Working Group chair; Christine Riley, Chief of Staff; Don Gordon, Director of Design & Construction; Melissa Acker, Landscape Architect; Renee Bindewald, student; Dr. Kim Newsome, AVC, Student Affairs; Dr. Dee Eggers, faculty; Gregg Kormanik, faculty; Max Queen, VP of Administrative Services, AB Tech; and Chief Eric Boyce, Director of Public Safety/Chief of Police
Ben Judge, student
Elizabeth Becker, Assistant, Chancellor's Office
Mr. Nelson welcomed the Working Group members to the meeting at 9:02 am. He encouraged participation in the constituent meetings that were going to take place during his visits to campus. Mr. Nelson referenced the two articles that were circulated prior to the meeting (Brighter Colors, Softer Lights Are Now and Designing Spaces for Today's Students).
Mr. Nelson reminded the group of where UNC Asheville is in the process of the master plan. Currently, the focus is on the conceptual work to get a better end product. The Working Group members were thoughtfully chosen to help guide this process. Mr. Nelson talked about the importance of governance. How we govern the process is important, but equally as important is that the goals be realistic. The Working Group members need to think about how to achieve that emphasis on governance. Additionally, the working group will have upcoming opportunities to focus on several important issues, including the use of existing space on campus and how to make improvements.
The group discussed how best to keep the dialogue open with the various constituents who will be consulted in this process. A group member suggested developing our guiding principles then sharing those with the constituent groups. The group agreed that the guiding principles would be important when designing the new plan. The guiding principles need to be reflected in our designs and adaptations with the reminder that we will need to be flexible.
Mr. Nelson continued that it is important for the group to address why we’re here and where we’re going. We should learn from the 2005 Campus Master Plan.
Mr. Nelson walked the Working Group through some highlights of the 2005 plan (pages referenced are attached). Page 2, is the 2003 version of the campus map. Page 4, touched on issues that needed addressing. Mr. Nelson then gave the group a brief history of the University System climate in regards to funding for new buildings and repairs and renovations.
Page 5, was discussed and the 2005 plan was reviewed at a conceptual level, including those groups who needed to be consulted. Page 6, shared the 2005 plan’s priorities for the future. Mr. Nelson mentioned that the University needs to be realistic about funding and the need for flexibility while staying consistently within the bounds of the guiding principles. Page 9, the topographical map was reviewed. Page 14, the use of campus districts was discussed as a common approach to campus master planning. The group discussed this option of sectioning off the campus. The group agreed that a more cohesive plan of mixed-use options would be preferred. Mr. Nelson said he could share examples of those types of plans in a future meeting. Page 20, UNC Asheville properties, will be a topic to discuss thoroughly. The undeveloped sections of property to the north and south of the campus are currently being used by faculty for research and as urban recreation sites with walking trails and the like. The group agreed that research and public access to the land could co-exist. A group member suggested that we would need to think strategically about how best to use that land. Another group member mentioned the Kellogg Center property in Hendersonville. The Craft Campus, Riverside Drive warehouse, Sandy Bottom, and Rhoades property were all discussed as additional peripheral properties. Mr. Nelson said that these properties would be important to talk about as a sidebar to the campus master plan. Page 24, campus approach by vehicles and pedestrians was reviewed. The group members discussed a culture shift as the campus moves from a commuter college to a pedestrian-friendly residential university. The group also spoke about parking issues, vehicular access, way finding and how they would need to weigh these against cost and public perception. Page 32, campus open space.
The Working Group discussed what the goals of the master plan and the question, where do we want to end up? Mr. Nelson shared some of his key thoughts on this:
- Think in a 5-10 year window
- Adapting and improving what we already have with limited resources
- Space needs and changes we might make to use existing space more efficiently
- Renovations, may have access to repair and renovation funds
- Swing space
- Bridge gap between different constituent groups on campus (needs of the art dept. are different than the science dept.)
- Concentrating on the right areas
- Goal for students on campus
- Consider “lifestyle” and adapting to the current needs of students
- Aesthetics and design standards
- Environmental issues
- Information technology needs
- Cultural Change, and accommodating these needs with no funding
The Working Group talked about space needs. With a goal of 3500 full time students, and 50% living on campus, there is a real need for residential space. Currently there are only 1140 students living on campus, but the goal is 1800. A group member mentioned that the cafeteria at lunch time and student mailboxes were already at capacity. Another member mentioned the importance of thinking about and planning for deferred maintenance. In the event of an emergency having the option of swing space is vital to minimizing disruptions. Also mentioned is the lack of intercom systems for use during emergencies. Currently, UNC Asheville only has two buildings on campus with intercom systems -- Highsmith Union and Founders Hall.
The group discussed buildings in various stages of disrepair on campus. A group member suggested designing buildings for lower maintenance and soliciting feedback from facilities personnel for information on cost-effective materials and systems. UNC Asheville currently has approximately 40-44 million in deferred maintenance. The group questioned Mr. Nelson on what is a reasonable amount for a University. Mr. Nelson suggested the formula of between 2.5 and 5% of the current replacement value of campus facilities.
The group discussed the possibility of a single person who controlled space allocation, a so-called space czar, which has been a successful model at other institutions. Class schedules and better time use could help with better space use.
The group mentioned ways to minimize our vulnerability to the fluctuating energy markets, by designing better and by reducing our needs or reliance on fuels and metals.
The vision for UNC Asheville was reiterated; that we maintain our liberal arts identity, with the goal of a student population of 3500 full-time students with 10% part-time students. A member talked about their vision of some land being left undeveloped for designation as open space.
Mr. Nelson tied in pieces of the Strategic Plan to the discussion including:
- Learn from our differences
- Sharing responsibility with Asheville
- Standard of excellence
- Undergraduate Research
- Robust campus learning experience
- Environmental sustainability
And, from the Student Learning Outcomes:
- Critical thinking skills
A group member questioned how Mr. Nelson was going to share the information he gathered at the constituent meetings. He said he would provide what he learned prior to the next meeting of this Working Group. He asked for the group to be thinking about others who needed to be consulted during the process and again encouraged the group’s participation in the meetings already scheduled.
Mr. Nelson concluded the meeting at 10:58 am.
Return to Consultations and Minutes