Campus planners described the most recent iteration of the campus Master Plan and addressed rumors that the athletic department will take over the Shell Tuesday evening.
A few dozen community members and stakeholders showed up to Union South’s Varsity Hall to attend the sixth 2015 campus Master Plan Update Tuesday evening.
Campus planner Mary Jukuri, landscape architect Stan Szwalek and University of Wisconsin’s Director of Campus Planning Gary Brown walked the audience through the most current draft of the 2015 Campus Master Plan.
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For future landscape and architecture design, Jukuri said the campus plan attempts to take some of the best qualities of UW’s existing iconic features, such as Bascom Hill and Memorial Terrace, and employ those in newer developments to both preserve and extend the campus history.
Jukuri emphasized the Master Plan proposed is for the long-term, with development envisioned as incremental or through four periods of six-year stages.
“This Master Plan as we’ve proposed it is not a 10 or 20-year Master Plan, it’s really looking at 30 years and beyond,” Jukuri said. “It’s showing opportunities for future redevelopment sites where the university can create new buildings to replace aging buildings. Now the university won’t build all of that, [it] certainly won’t build that overnight.”
Near-term projects, or those expected to be completed within the first six year period stretching from 2017 to 2023, include the development of the Hamel Music Performance Center, SERF replacement, Chemistry Building renovation as well as the Witte and Sellery Residence Halls.
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Beyond these short term construction projects, campus organizers indicated that improving sustainability and incorporating more natural elements were primary goals.
Under the current plan, Szwalek said the parking space at the base of Observatory Hill would be slated for removal to establish a wetland area for preservation and serve as a potential educational nature space.
For one of the final questions and the most charged moment of the evening, an attendee asked Brown about rumors the Shell would be transferred to the athletic department some time after 2020.
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Brown denied there were any plans in place to transfer the property to the athletic department, but asserted the athletic department would most likely be involved in the redevelopment of the space.
“Who owns it is the university, and whoever programs it is a different topic and we’ll have to talk about that when we get to it at some point,” Brown said.
The City of Madison’s approval process of the Master Plan will stretch from October through December. From there, Brown said, the Board of Regents will consider the proposal in February before it is brought before the Wisconsin State Legislature next spring.