May 042004
Authors: Mackenzie Bartels

John Desch has an idea of what CSU will look like in six


However, Desch, who does campus planning for Facilities

Management, said he knows the idea will change and develop so much

from its current abstract state to its actual implementation that

it may become a different picture entirely.

Surrounded by stacks of paper and foam-board maps of campus,

Desch said his department is working on the master plan that is

updated every six years.

“The master plan is our vision for how the campus should grow,”

he said.

When a campus undergoes change, planners consider factors beyond

aesthetics and student-campus relationships. The plan takes into

account the university’s mission, history and physical location,

Desch said. The list of considerations also includes aspects like

academics, technology, sustainability and maintenance.

Desch pulled out a white three-ring binder and thumbed through

the plan’s lengthy table of contents. The multiple colored markings

and plethora of sticky notes revealed a work in progress.

“We try to solicit as much comment and recommendation as we

can,” Desch said. “We go to all kinds of community groups as well

as county offices, different colleges, student organizations, etc.

Our purpose is to reach out as broadly as we can to show the city

what we’re planning.”

A Physical Development Committee made up of representatives from

each college meets monthly to discuss planning issues.

Desch said there is debate about the value of aesthetics versus

functionality and cost.

“Some people want the most building for the least money and

don’t care what it looks like,” he said.

CSU’s original campus included only the buildings around the

Oval. According to Desch, many nondescript buildings were added

during the 1960s and 1970s to accommodate rapid growth.

“I think now we’re realizing the mistakes we made,” he said.

“The ‘aesthetics’ side is getting stronger consideration.”

He added that the university has always tried to maintain open

space and keep vehicles out of the center of campus.

Desch said the possibility of parking garages has been

mentioned, but they are much more expensive than surface lots. It’s

another issue of cost versus appearance, he said.

The Physical Development Plan runs the gamut of approvals and

revisions from state agencies the Colorado Commission on Higher

Education ultimately approves it.

Detailed descriptions of the planning process are available on

the Facilities Management Web site,

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