April 6, 2006

Cornell Seeks New 'Master Plan'

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Cornell announced yesterday that it has assembled a consultant team, helmed by Urban Strategies, Inc., to develop a “comprehensive master plan” (CMP) for the University.

“The plan will be driven by academic priorities and support the goals and aspirations of the University as it guides the campus’s physical development over the next 10 to 25 years,” said Stephen Golding, vice president for finance and administration, in a statement.

According to Mina Amundsen, university planner, the latest CMP will differ greatly from the “precinct plans” of the early 90s in that it will emphasize and facilitate collaboration between colleges, recognizing the increasing focus on cross-disciplinary work at Cornell and throughout higher education.

The CMP will cover issues ranging from transportation and utilities to the use of land and the arrangement and sizes of future buildings.

Environmental concerns will also play a major role in the process.

“The master plan will provide a tremendous opportunity for Cornell to become a model of sustainable campus planning, which will benefit not only the University but the entire region,” said Cyndi Rottenberg-Walker, a Urban Strategies partner, in a statement.

Amundson said that, as of now, she is unsure whether a public draft of the document will be available before the CMP’s expected completion in Fall 2007. Right now, she added, the survey is still in the early stages, and the planning process will be revised throughout.

Urban Strategies has worked with several other schools before Cornell, including the University of Minnesota, Georgian College and University of Toronto. According to Simeon Moss ’73, Cornell press office director, the firm has also done work with the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

The company beat out 15 other competing firms largely based on “their ability to engage a wide range of people and groups,” according to Amundsen. She said that the firm formally visited campus twice during the application process, and returned to campus last week to discuss the project with Provost Biddy Martin.

According to a University press release, Polshek Partnership, of New York City; Vollmer Associates; New England Engineering; and GIE Niagara Engineering will also be involved in creating the CMP.

Archived article by Sun Staff