March 10, 2008

Board Passes Plan for Univ. Development

Print More

The Board of Trustees approved the Comprehensive Master Plan this weekend at its annual March meeting. While the CMP is a general physical roadmap for the future development of the Ithaca campus over the next 10 to 25 years, it is not a specific outline.
“The CMP does not dictate exactly how our campus will look in 50 years,” Student-Elected Trustee Kate Duch ’09 said. “As we expand in the future, the plan will guide where construction should occur — and even more importantly, where open spaces should be preserved.”
According to Stephen Golding, executive vice-president for finance and administration, the CMP focuses on five key principles to guide future University development: to support the academic mission, promote stewardship, enhance the campus experience, reinforce community and ensure integrative planning and design.
“I am pleased with the process that has been used over the past two years to involve all of Cornell’s constituencies to help formulate and to review the plan. The responsible parties have reached out to and incorporated input from Cornell’s faculty, students, staff, trustees and alumni as well as the Ithaca and surrounding communities,” said Peter C. Meinig ’62, chair of the Board of Trustees.
The CMP is one of the three pillars of planning at Cornell, with the other two being the academic plan and capital plan. The CMP will play an integral role in the future planning process. According to Golding, projects that significantly vary from the CMP should have to be approved by the Buildings and Properties Committee.
“The Campus Master Plan should be consulted at the outset of every master planning and design exercise, so that it can effectively influence project formulation, site selection, design development and review and project approval,” Golding stated in an e-mail.
He stressed the importance of expanding the campus without adversely affecting surrounding neighborhoods. In addition, to ensure economic efficiency and maximize coordination, Cornell will bring various University officials — the University planner, University architect, University engineer and directors of project design and construction, space planning, transportation, utilities, environmental compliance and sustainability — together for regular meetings.
One project that the CMP has generated is the development of East Campus.
“We looked at several different ways the campus could provide for new development of academic and student spaces and eventually it became obvious that extending east on Tower Road was the most logical way to go,” Golding stated.
The CMP Committee chose East Campus as the site for residential housing development after past studies indicated that many graduate and professional students desire to live on campus. The CMP has not laid out a set construction plan but “provides for [on-campus housing] if in the future we can validate a market for on-campus housing,” Golding stated.
Duch said that she had some reservations about the East Campus plan, specifically about placing residential towers above classrooms and research facilities.
Other areas that the CMP will develop include East Hill Plaza, downtown Ithaca and Collegetown.
Work on the CMP began in April 2006 when the University hired consulting firm Urban Strategies Inc. to prepare the CMP. Since then, the University and participating consultants have held several open houses to both inform the public of the progress of the CMP and receive feedback from community members.