Rutgers’ master plan provides a framework for growth
Archived article from Feb 9, 2004
By Richard Gorman
As Rutgers moves ahead in the 21st century, it now has a 115-page master plan to help guide its steps through the year 2011. The board of governors approved the university’s 2003 physical master plan Dec. 12, its last meeting of the year.
“In these most difficult of economic environments, Rutgers faces significant challenges to keep pace with enrollment growth, advancing technologies and regional development,” President Richard L. McCormick wrote in an introduction to the document. The master plan, he said, is intended to provide “a conceptual outline of controlled University development that will create for us a coherent array of facilities that can support learning across all dimensions of life within the university community.”
Three years in development, the master plan represents the best thinking of the university community in terms of assessing its facilities needs and projected physical growth to accommodate an influx of students—the children of the baby boomers—over the next seven years and beyond. The university’s enrollment could increase by 9,000 students if the university continues to enroll the same percentage of graduating high school seniors as it does today, the master plan noted.
In 2001, the university retained Paulien & Associates Inc. of Denver, a consulting firm specializing in campus planning, to conduct a detailed analysis of Rutgers’ current and future space needs. Paulien submitted its findings to Ayers/Saint/Gross of Baltimore, an architectural and planning firm that works primarily with colleges and universities. Ayers/Saint/Gross prepared the actual master plan.
As the project manager for Rutgers, Kyu Jung Whang, vice president for facilities and capital planning, tracked the progress of the master plan and coordinated the flow of information from the university to the consultants.
“We wanted to develop a plan that would capture a picture of Rutgers at a point sometime in the future,” Whang said. “The aim was to determine current needs first, then look ahead to the year 2011, 10 years from when we began the planning process. Our intention was to develop a picture of a campus fully built-out—20-25 years into the future.”
The university community was heavily involved in the development process. Faculty committees, student committees, senior administrators and deans on each campus provided input to Ayers/Saint/Gross for the master plan. In addition, the president’s cabinet and a committee comprised of representatives from each campus monitored the plan’s progress.
The master plan recommends a host of new academic facilities, housing units, administrative and athletic buildings, support structures and landscape improvements to enable the university to more efficiently serve its many constituents. A major addition to the law school in Camden, an Executive Development Center for the business school in Newark and a pedestrian thoroughfare on College Avenue are just some of its many recommendations.
The master plan lists more than 50 priority projects for the five campuses in central Jersey to be carried out in two phases over a 13-year period.
What would it cost to implement all of the proposals?
“If we had to address our needs up to 2012 to accommodate the 9,000 additional students, then we’re probably talking in the $1 billion-to-$2 billion range,” Whang said. “Beyond that, to the full build-out, I imagine it would be some significant billions of dollars.” To help offset capital costs, the master plan encourages the formation of public/private partnerships to build multi-use facilities. Other sources of income include federal and state funds, public and private donations and more.
Using the newly approved master plan as a guide, Whang’s office is preparing the university’s annual capital plan. “We want to make sure that priority projects are identified so that when federal and state funding come through, we’ll have a list of projects that we can work on,” he said.
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