CSU has a master plan

 Uncategorized
Mar 242003
 
Authors: Christopher J. Ortiz

With the recent addition of the Chemistry/Biosciences Building, CSU’s 133-year-old campus has seen many changes and renovations and will continue to see some in the future, though they could be hampered by budget concerns.

The master campus plan includes a new residence hall, a concert hall, a proposed Mason Street Corridor and a plan to make campus more pedestrian-friendly.

Nancy Hurt, manager of planning and property for Facilities Management, described the plan that calls for the campus to become more accessible for walkers and redirect traffic.

“We really want to establish a pedestrian core (in the center of campus),” Hurt said.

Plans include making the main part of campus free of driving. This area extends from Meridian Avenue to College Avenue and from the Lory Student Center parking lot to the new Yates Hall. The goal is to get students through campus quicker, hopefully in 10 minutes.

Plans also include increasing bike paths on campus and connecting those paths with the city’s paths. The plan is an effort to minimize the driving on campus and decrease the demand for on-campus parking by offering alternative ways to get to campus.

One of the issues in this April’s upcoming elections is a proposed corridor that would run along both sides of the train tracks that go through town.

The corridor, which is being planned by the city, would include two bike lanes and a public transpiration lane.

Brian Chase, the director for Facilities Management, said the university is supporting the corridor and is optimistic that it will decrease parking demand and will provide alternative routes to campus.

If passed by voters in April, the corridor will come with a $60 million price tag and will take four to five years to construct.

Another major concern for Facilities Management is how environmentally friendly the campus is. One way it is doing that is the concept of green buildings.

The Green Building Concept includes the use and conservation of non-toxic building materials, energy-efficient buildings and the consideration of using wood instead of steel or concrete for new buildings. The concept calls for the campus to use more landscaping to heat and cool buildings.

This concept will go into the design for the new residence hall. Planners are considering using wood to build the 700-bedroom building, Chase said.

The new residence hall’s projected completion date is the fall of 2004. The hall will allow planners to empty existing residence halls one at a time to either renovate or demolish them. University planners have not yet decided which course of action they plan to take on the current residences halls.

In addition to working with the city and the university administrators, Facilities Management also solicits input from the student body. Last semester, master plans were presented to the Associated Students of CSU with Hurt calling it a great session. ASCSU members had different opinions about the proposed pedestrian zone.

“The convenience of the roads is essential to everyday commuters who rely on the traffic system of our campus,” said Thea Rinard, an associate senator for the College of Liberal Arts.

Amanda Belles, a senator for the Intra-University, said she thought it was a good idea because she has concerns about drivers not yielding to pedestrians. She said with the pedestrian zone, safety on campus as a whole would be better.

One major obstacle facing campus planning is budget concerns. Construction and renovations to the campus are very vulnerable to the state’s budget situation. Hurt said that for the past 10 years when the state was seeing better times, the school made a lot of headway with campus construction and renovations. They were on schedule but now with the state slashing the budget those plans have been halted.

“It’s also easier to cut capital and not programs,” Hurt said when commenting on the current budget situation. “There is no guess on when those funds are coming back.”

Despite the budget problems several planned projects are still underway, including the new residence hall, located near the Ropes Course on the west side of campus, the concert hall at the old Fort Collins High School and the Mason Street Corridor.

These projects are a go-ahead because they are either self-generated like the residence hall, which is paid for by Housing and Food Services, or privately funded like the concert hall. The corridor will be paid for by taxpayers through local sales taxes and federal money.

Before any construction starts, Facilities Management has to present final plans to the Board of Governors of the CSU System. Once the plans are approved there, they are taken to the Colorado Commission of Higher Education to be financed with state funds.

Hopes for a new or renovated Hughes Stadium will have to rely on fundraising and private donations. Hurt said the state is not interested in financing, renovating or building a new stadium. Hurt placed a $15 million price tag on revamping the stadium.

A campus-parking garage is just as unlikely. With a price of $10,000 per parking space, commuters that park on campus will just have to make due with the current parking situation, Hurt said.

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