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Campus Master Plan
Member, Texas Tech University System The Princeton Review - 373 Best Colleges, 2011 Edition

Campus Master Plan

Why a Campus Master Plan?

The university campus is an environment of living, learning, research, social life and recreation. This environment is necessarily dynamic as it strives to respond to the ever-changing world of which it is a part. The best campuses work hard to achieve their academic and social goals. The campus master plan will establish a vision for physical assets of the university. In addition, the master planning process will evaluate the current physical conditions of the university, identifying issues that need to be addressed and proposing options to address those issues.

What is a Campus Master Plan?

A master plan is a roadmap for the development and refinement of the campus for the present and future needs of the university. The master plan is the documentation of an approach to physical issues which will help the university achieve its academic and social goals. Because those goals can and will change over time, the master plan report should not be a proscriptive, limited document. Instead, planning should be undertaken with flexibility and adaptability in mind.

The master plan should be designed so that as the university changes, the general strategies documented in the report will remain valid regardless of how and when the particular projects called for in the plan are developed. The master plan report will consist of several pieces. First, the site analysis and information gathering undertaken at the beginning of the project will be documented.

This documentation is called the Phase I Report and will include programming information and design guidelines. Design guidelines are a codification of design practices to be encouraged on campus. Useful architectural guidelines are not a prescriptive list of requirements and limitations. Rather, guidelines are the result of an analysis of existing practices intersected by recommendations for strengthening and clarifying the elements already present on campus.

The physical master plan is the second part of the master plan report. It includes a plan of the layout of the university at the threshold of the master planning timeline and written documentation of that plan, both developed with input and reviewed with input and reviewed by Angelo State University and The Texas Tech University System. Together, the Phase I Report and the physical master plan form Vision 2028.

Planning Approach

Phase I: Information Gathering and Analysis

This phase is an investigative phase during which the team will seek to uncover information and data which will serve as a knowledge base for the subsequent development of the master plan. The physical characteristics of the campus, its surroundings, subsurface conditions, and connections to the city around it will be documented, and the team will gain a technical understanding of the capacities of the central plant as well as water, sewer, electrical, data, traffic, and parking infrastructures.

The university has identified several stakeholder groups whose input into the planning process is essential. The planners will gather input that will help establish the general direction of the physical master plan for the campus. Information received will be recorded in writing and distributed to the university and other designated team members. During the first phase of work, there will be several progress meetings to keep the university informed of our progress and to give the university the opportunity to raise issues and concerns and to add areas of emphasis to the work. Design guidelines will also be established at this time with the input of the university. The results of the Phase I work will be published in a Phase I report. When the final master plan report is published, the Phase I report will be its companion volume.

Phase II: Vision 2028 Development

Phase II will begin with an interactive work session called a design charette. The object of the charette is to present in visual and easily comprehended graphic format the quantified results of the Phase I activities, and to begin to apply those results to the campus. The master planning architect will facilitate the work sessions, which should generate several planning options for the master planning team to explore further. In-office work following the work session will digest, collate, and synthesize the results of the charette. The team will then develop the directions resulting from the work session(s) to the next stage. The planning options developed at this time will be tested internally for their viability between the present and 2028, our planning horizon. The evolving plans also will ensure that various criteria are adaptable to future needs beyond our planning timeline. These criteria include sufficient building space, parking, circulation, utility infrastructure, landscape development, environmental enhancement, continued growth, campus aesthetics, campus image and connection to the public transportation network.

The developed planning options will be presented to the university in a second charette, during which a single alternative or portions of several different alternatives will be selected. The master planning team will then further develop the selected alternative to completion and will document that alternative in a master plan report.