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Campus Master Plan close to completion

The final draft of the campus master plan, presented to the University's master plan advisory committee and other University and community groups last week, offers a vision of a future campus with a pedestrian core and clearly articulated pathways linking academic buildings and campus "neighborhoods."

The plan, developed during the past 16 months, will be presented to the finance committee of the Board of Trustees October 17. The final plan, with detailed back-up and an executive summary, will be handed over to the administration in January.

Stephen F. Troost of the Ann Arbor, Mich.-based planning firm Johnson, Johnson and Roy Inc., lead contractor of the master planning team, said the master plan will continue to be updated as the campus is developed.

President Philip E. Austin said the vision contained in the master plan is made possible by the existence of UConn 2000.

"We can do all the planning in the world, but if we can't implement the plans, they will be put on shelves and forgotten. With UConn 2000 we have the resources to provide a sense of excitement as a result of the assurance that our decisions with respect to architectural design and overall architectural philosophy have a reasonable chance of being implemented in our lifetimes," Austin said.

Mark A. Emmert, chancellor and provost for university affairs, said the plan takes "the opportunity of UConn 2000 - the opportunity of a lifetime for an institution - to transform the campus physically and make sure the University doesn't end up with just a pastiche of nice new buildings. This can change the way students and faculty and staff experience the University. Now when they come here they will know they've come to a very special place, a place of learning."

At the heart of the campus would be a forum that Troost described as "the center of activity - academic and social - and a place to see and be seen."

Relocation of roadways and parking, additions to the Student Union and Co-op buildings, and new buildings for the schools of business and pharmacy will make the transformation, he said.

He said the University plans to conduct a more detailed study for the forum.

Troost said that by the time the UConn 2000 projects are completed, there will be 400 fewer parking spaces than currently, owing to displacement of parking by new buildings. The campus also needs an estimated 250 new spaces for visitors. A second parking garage would fulfill these requirements, he said. To increase the overall amount of parking in the future, a third parking garage may be necessary.

The master plan also includes suggestions for improving bicycle circulation and encourages increased bicycle use on campus, including appropriately located secure facilities for storage.

The latest draft plan maintains existing access from campus to South Eagleville Road by way of Hillside Circle; identifies a site for Greek housing north of the Towers residence halls; and proposes design changes to Arjona and Monteith Buildings.

Designs for Arjona and Monteith include student lounges with a view of Mirror Lake and a walkway to connect the two buildings. Whitney Road would be one of the internal campus roads slated for elimination.

A new road for buses only between Gulley Hall and Glenbrook Road would complete an internal on-campus route that would make the shuttle system more efficient, by eliminating the need for all buses to use Route 195.

Elizabeth Omara-Otunnu