December 7, 2001

Trustee Committee Approves Plans for West Campus

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At the base of Libe Slope, West Campus awaits its transformation.

Yesterday, the Buildings and Properties Committee of the Board of Trustees approved “the comprehensive site plan and site criteria for the entire west campus initiative and also for the first house” at their meeting in New York City, said Susan H. Murphy ’73, vice president of student and academic services.

Before the plan takes effect, however, it must be approved by the full Board of Trustees at the January meeting, Murphy said.

The University has hired a firm called KieranTimberlake Associates (KTA), which is “proposing a plan that is different in design than what was conceived when the program plan was discussed [and approved] in May 2001,” Murphy added.

The KTA plan is a “footprint” for the site, outlining where the houses would be and what the pathways and roads would look like, according to Isaac Kramnick, vice provost and co-chair of the West Campus Council with Edna Dugan, assistant vice president.

The current site plan includes five living-learning houses, which would be constructed over an eight-year period beginning in January 2003, Kramnick said.

The first house, which will be constructed on the West Campus parking lot, would open in August 2004.

“There has to be new construction before any of the University halls are destroyed,” Kramnick said. He explained that, due to the University’s decision to guarantee housing for sophomores and transfer students, there must be at least 1650 beds on West campus at all times. The first house will add 250 beds before the first University Hall is demolished.

The University Halls — which include Class of ’17, ’18, ’22, ’26, ’28 and Sperry Hall — were constructed in the 1950s “and meant to be temporary,” Kramnick said.

The gothic halls’ exterior will not be altered in the plan. Rather, the various gothic-style buildings will be grouped with new structures to form three of the living-learning houses.

“All along, the decision was made to retain the gothics,” Kramnick said. He noted that a concern throughout the process has been for the new buildings to be “compatible and reflect the style of the gothics.”

After the third house is built, Noyes Community Center will be demolished. “… it’s function will be eliminated, because it’s function is dining for the whole West Campus,” Kramnick said. Under the proposed plan, each of the five houses will have their own dining hall.

A new community recreation center by the same name, however, will be constructed near the site of the West Campus tennis courts. The community recreation center would provide a common meeting place for fraternity members, staff, and students from both West Campus and the Collegetown dorms, Kramnick said.

Murphy mentioned that Kramnick, as well as Project Leader Jean Reese and Director of Facilities John Kiefer, “are meeting with alumni of the fraternities in the immediate area” to discuss the proposed plan, “and that group will be expanded to include the neighbors on the north and west side of the site.”

Parking problems from the transformed West Campus will be alleviated by a new parking garage behind the law school, Kramnick said.

According to Murphy, more details about the West Campus plan will be available in mid-January, around the time of the full Board of Trustees meeting.


Archived article by Heather Schroeder