Sasaki Associates unveil plan to JCU

October 11th, 2007

The master plan was presented to faculty, staff, students and community members on Tuesday in the Donahue Auditorium in Dolan Science Center.

Sasaki Associate Peter Brigham said the first way to do this is to make the campus more navigable.

“The center of campus is terrific – it’s classic,” he said. “We really need to work on the edge of campus.”

The first aspect of the master plan is to re-open Administration Drive and remove the closed gates along the side, allowing for a more open flow of traffic. Also, improve the walkway between Belvoir and both sides of campus by adding a “speed table” – a raised level of walkway to increase safety for pedestrians.

The Sasaki Associates broke the campus down into four “districts” – Fairmount Circle, Academic Core, the Historic Core which includes Campion Hall, Hamlin Hall, Don Shula Stadium and the baseball and softball fields.

According to the master plan, the Fairmount Circle district will undergo vast changes, becoming a link between JCU and the University Heights community.

“If you go to a lot of great schools you’ll see a district like that. It’s a place where the city and the campus could really come together, and today, there isn’t really a good place where that happens,” said Brigham.

These plans involve bridging the lawn in front of the Dolan Science Center, covering Fairmount Circle and North Park Boulevard.

Brigham said, “A prospective student could arrive, come through a nice gated Admin. Drive, park, and then look out at a great grassy lawn, high canopy trees, students streaming back and forth through the passages of Admin., see the library, this [Dolan Science Center] great building we’ve invested in, it really would be an incredible a nice gated Admin[istration]. Drive, park, and then look out at a great grassy lawn, high canopy trees, students streaming back and forth through the passages of Admin[istration], see the library, this [Dolan Science Center] great building we’ve invested in, it really would be an incredible turnaround.”

In this district, they plan on developing baseball fields down Warrensville, beside two parking developments that will house a total of 600 new parking spaces flanking what is now CVS Pharmacy and BP gas station.

The next development in the master plan is covering the temporary lot, located between the Dolan Science Center and the Administration building, and making it another quad with an atrium.

Brigham said, “What was parking now becomes grassy lawn, a new academic building with a nice atrium connection to the library, and lots of activity both during the day and during the night.”

“Bohannon is coming down,” said Sasaki Associate Tyler Patrick.

Patrick said the space occupied by the Bohannon Center will be used in “the long run”, involving a future master plan that will develop new academic buildings.

As far as the Historic district, the master plan does not involve plans to build onto it, but use the space wisely.

“You have enough total space on campus, academic space that is,” said Patrick.

“However, it’s not distributed properly. There are a lot of people that have more space than others, that sort of thing. We’re trying to equalize the amount of space allocated for different academic departments and administrative departments.”

The master plan intends to take residence halls like Bernet, Millor, Pacelli, Sutowski and Murphy and tear down dividing walls to make two room suites with bathrooms. Also, the basements of these halls will be used for storage.

In the Athletic Fields district, the Sasaki Associates hope to improve space usage in this aspect as well, that will benefit the students’ needs as needed.

“We need to turn over the Recplex to more student uses. So how can we get it? Pull out some of the functions of the Recplex and give them back to the students,” said Patrick.

Patrick and Peter Brigham of the Sasaki Associates demonstrated the master plan in Donahue Auditorium, a plan which they hope will increase enrollment, improve community standards, and use the University’s existing resources wisely.

The Associates have met with the Board of Trustees, President Rev. Niehoff, the University Planning Group and leaders of groups from JCU for the past nine months.

They have been discussing data and taking consensus regarding how to build new projects and roads that will further develop the infrastructure that is already on this campus.

The Sasaki Associates see the master plan as a development more towards the students needs, but more importantly, using those needs to breech out and make the University part of the community as well.

Said Brigham, “Our academic mission is the core mission, but as we worked on the master plan we’ve really come up with three things that we’re working on.

We need to increase enrollment, we need to improve community relations, and we need to use our resources wisely.”