University of Wisconsin officials presented the final draft of the 2015 UW Campus Master Plan, which aims to reduce UW’s environmental impact, at a public meeting Friday.
The final draft of the Master Plan — a guide for campus growth renewed every 10 years — focuses on expanding upon infrastructure within campus instead of acquiring new land to build upon.
Gary Brown, campus planning and landscape architecture director who presented the final draft, said at the meeting that this type of expansion would help reduce the impact campus activities and construction have on the environment. This includes constructing energy efficient buildings and renovating existing buildings to make them more eco-friendly.
“The most sustainable building is the kind we don’t have to build,” Brown said.
The campus master plan aims to manage UW’s resources, make traveling around campus easier, celebrate the lakeside setting, revitalize outdoor spaces and help UW be “good neighbors” with surrounding areas, Brown said.
The campus master plan cost approximately $1.2 million to create, Brown said. Comparatively, the 2005 campus master plan took only $900,000 to create, as it was not as extensive as the current plan.
Brown said there are no estimates on the total cost of renovations because the plan acts as a guideline and may or may not be fully implemented. So far, construction on Witte Residence Hall and Memorial Union alone is estimated to total nearly $100 million.
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Currently 70 percent complete, Brown said the Master Plan would increase available campus area — including both indoor and outdoor spaces — from the 25 million gross square feet available in 2005 to 28 million gross square feet.
This is the first time UW officials have created a comprehensive landscape Master Plan that looks to incorporate building construction with the expansion of green spaces, Brown said. Increasing parking facilities and improving stormwater management also form an important part of the plan, he said.
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Brown said the plan looks toward further investment in renewable energy resources like solar panels. He also hinted at investing in wind energy in the future as well.
“We’re also embracing the future and trying to develop resource efficiency for future needs,” Brown said.
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Brown said the plan looks to improve public transportation efficiency, especially for cyclists, on University Avenue and other major intersections. Increasing urban bike paths and tracks is a key part of the plan as well.
Memorial Union terrace, which was partially completed in May, will be fully renovated by fall, Brown said.
UW Design Review Board, Joint West Campus Area Committee and Cit’s Common Council will review UW Campus Master Plan over the summer. UW officials will then present the revised plan to the public in September. The plan is expected to be completely finalized by January 2017.
Correction: A previous version of this .article incorrectly stated gross square feet values and the year of the plan’s completion. The Badger Herald regrets this error.