All part of the master plan
PSU to ‘renovate and reclaim’ old buildings
Caitlin Taylor Collegio Reporter
Dennis Strait, a consultant for Gould Evans Associates, presented the most recent version of Pittsburg State University’s master plan during open forums held on Thursday, March 10.
The master plan is an organizational document that President Steve Scott says is more than “just a list of where to stick new buildings.” Scott says the master plan takes into account the university’s existing infrastructure, new technology and student expectations.
“Hartman Hall would be the first to be renovated and reclaimed for academic use and offices,” Strait said. “Other buildings anticipated to expand are the union building and the Kelce building. It’s different from the previous plan where we would have just made use of the buildings as they are.”
Strait says that one of the major sections of the document deals with classroom utilization. His firm looked at room capacity and course capacity, and came to the conclusion that space could be used more efficiently. He says that, right now, about 75 percent of classrooms are utilized, and the new goal will be to have 80 percent of classrooms filled 70 percent of the time.
Strait says the proposed master plan would bridge the gap between east and west campus, expand distinct landscaping of the Oval to unify the campus, organize new construction around pedestrian-orientated green space, and renovate the older buildings around the Oval, along with a possible expansion of the Weede Physical Education Building.
An audience member, after the discussion, asked if the master plan would address crowding issues in chemistry department and biology department classrooms.
“We recognize there is growth happening there, and it should be accommodated,” said Strait. “Those programs might be a candidate for Hartmann and expansion.”
Strait says that, in the plan, consultants and university officials are looking at transforming the library into a student support center. They are also going to focus on enhancing the campus edges and gateways to help project a positive image.
In the plan, consultants and university officials are also looking at providing additional space near the west end of campus to relieve off-campus parking congestion and to accommodate future growth in the campus and housing facility.
Strait says that the next steps in the process for the Master Plan are the implementation phase, which deals with priorities, funding, and policy implications. Then there will be the final reviews of the plan, and then the adoption of the Master Plan.
“We are looking at 1 percent to 2 percent growth yearly in the campus,” Strait said. “It’s a generalization for the entire university, and we are going to accommodate that growth through renovation instead of building anew. There are no specifics concerning departments yet.”
Strait says the three top priorities for the consultants are to identify changes already under way, improvement for campus safety, and improvement of the campus’s character. The specific priorities which they will look at first are Hartmann Hall, the Joplin and Broadway entrances and roads, and dealing with the edges of campus.