EWC Completes Master Plan

Thursday, February 21st, 2013 • 11:06 pm

Existing Campus

Final Master Plan Conceptual Image.

Eastern Wyoming College has recently completed the master planning process.  The final report was accepted by the Board of Trustees at their February meeting.  The process of completing a master plan is required by the state and must be done every five years.  EWC took the opportunity to expand the planning level and looked out over a twenty year period.
The master planning process began over a year and a half ago.  The following planning principles were developed to guide the physical development of the campus:
1.       Organize the campus to strengthen the academic mission.
2.       Optimize the efficiency and utilization of the existing buildings, and identify the potential for new facilities and infrastructure to accommodate future programmatic needs.
3.       Enhance the sense of place of the College by reinforcing the portals and defining the edges that identify the campus.
4.       Improve the pedestrian and vehicular circulation so that access is safer, intuitive, and functional.
5.       Define landscaped open spaces and connections to create vibrant settings for socialization, study, and celebration of the College’s culture and heritage.
6.       Develop a comprehensive framework to ensure a flexible and enduring future.
The Campus Master Plan is the result of collaboration between a number of entities that helped guide its formation including:  students, staff, faculty, the Facilities Planning Committee, the Leadership Team, the Board of Trustees, the Foundation, and the Community Advisory Committees.  This process spanned over eight months and included on-campus meetings, planning workshops, open forums, and formal presentations.
The following are the highlights of the final Campus Master Plan:
·         The Plan carefully evaluated the capacity of the Main and North Campuses and determined that the College has enough land area to meet future growth requirements.  While not mandatory, a few surrounding properties could be acquired over time to buffer the edge conditions of the campuses.
·         The campus core represents the strongest opportunity to exemplify the Master Plan goals of the College.  This area of the campus provides several of the best building sites for future programmatic growth, landscaped open space that can transform the sense of place, dramatically improve pedestrian and vehicular circulation, and create new portals into campus that will reinforce the campus edge conditions and improve the perception of first time visitors and the community.
·         The future of student housing is addressed with the siting of new residence halls in two effective locations that can be phased based on the College’s needs, that is perpetuated by the eventual replacement of Eastern Hall.
·         The Plan addresses a number of open space opportunities that will benefit the campus community by creating memorable landscaped settings, improving stormwater management controls, and augmenting the College’s sustainable practices.  Integrated within these improvements will be a safer and more functional network of pedestrian pathways.  This system will connect buildings more efficiently, expand campus circulation, and improve street crossings.
·         Parking and vehicular circulation received special attention because of the relative importance they play on day to day operations of the College.  Parking requirements were met by adding and increasing new parking before any existing were relocated, and by balancing the overall system capacity on sites on both campuses.  Vehicular circulation was improved by adding a street to circumnavigate the campus, closing a street through the middle of campus, and adding multiple gateways into both campuses.
·         The North Campus provides an excellent opportunity to meet the programmatic growth needs of the College in a meaningful and efficient manner.  This campus is the site for the planned Agriculture Technology Education Center (ATEC) facility which requires significant adjacent open space and ancillary buildings to accommodate livestock, truck, and trailer parking.  In addition, the adjacency of two major programs with complementary requirements.  Lastly, the motor pool and bus garage were relocated here in order to maximize the potential for land use on the Main Campus.
“Our Eastern Wyoming College Master Plan is the result of a significant investment of time and dollars to ensure the best possible future for students and our community.  Planning principles placed priorities on people, programs, and a sense of place.  We had extraordinary interest and input from all quarters to develop this framework for future decision making.  We are excited to share the vision and the challenge of what we believe is conservative in regard to use of current space, thoughtfully flexible and sequenced projects, and, certainly, detailing affordable and reachable goals over the next twenty years,” shared EWC President Dr. Tom Armstrong.
EWC is also forging ahead on a new Eastern Wyoming College campus facility in Douglas.  The project is underway as a result of multi-year planning.  Financing for the project became secure when the voters of Converse County voted in favor of a special use tax for the facility.

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