July 28, 2010 — The University of Utah has been honored by the 2010 Society for College and University Planning (SCUP). The society awarded the Excellence in Planning Merit Award for Planning for a District or Campus Component to the U of U for its 2008 Campus Master Plan.
With the 25-year campus master plan, the university hopes to transform the 1500-acre, 30,000-student institution into an integrated, walkable, sustainable, energized and lively campus. For planners, this goal meant finding ways to transform an expansive campus with a reliance on automobiles, and an outward focus toward parking lots that were visitors’ first and last campus experience.
The 2008 master plan was a result of President Michael K. Young’s vision of engagement, preparation, and partnership for the university community. Planners developed underlying principles and created a powerful action program that drew strength from relationships between campus buildings, infrastructure, transportation, housing, ecology and spatial requirements.
With four basic implementation strategies-smart sequencing, enabling projects, creative project grouping, and infill development-the plan provides a comprehensive and thoughtful framework for current and future development, which “embodies excellence in strategic educational, service and programmatic initiatives,” according to Michael G. Perez, associate vice president for facilities management. “Infill building-blocks to reshape a vital, compact heart of campus are critical to transform the institution into an intensified, exciting, and ’round-the-clock’ learning center,” Perez adds. Similarly transformative is the effort to increase use of the four TRAX Light Rail stations located on the U’s campus.
In 2008, the Campus Master Plan was recognized by the Utah governor’s office and state legislature as a model of exceptional campus planning.
In making the 2010 award, the SCUP jury commented that the plan was a “very smart practical land use strategy,” that has “created an open space resource for everyone” and “institutionalized sustainability.”
Project Team: The University of Utah with Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP; also Hargreaves Associates: Fehr and Peers; Van Boerum & Frank Associates, Inc.; Ken Garner Engineering; Psomas; Ira Find & Associates; Parametric; Reaveley Engineering & Associates; Norm Kondy.