Consultants hired to help Northeastern State University with its Master Plan revealed three concepts for the Tahlequah campus during a meeting Thursday night.
Alternative A was labeled “Engage the Edge,” and Alternative B was named “Campus Neighborhoods.” Alternative C, which would effectively close Grand and Lewis avenues, was called “Unite the Campus.”
NSU Vice President for Operations Tim Foutch provided a brief summary of what the Master Plan meetings have entailed to date before he introduced Lead Campus Planner Neal Kessler, of SmithGroup JJR, and John Bengston, of Paulien & Associates Inc. Bengston is handling educational planning, or building/structure logistics.
Foutch prompted audience members to be frank in their observations, as feedback is needed from students, faculty and community members.
“We are in the third phase of our master planning process. The consultant group will go through a summary of what we’ve accomplished so far in phases one and two, and please keep in mind that we need your input,” said Foutch. “Any thoughts or ideas that you have, speak up, because it may be something someone can learn from.”
Kessler recounted previous meeting discussions of compiled data and information on vehicular and pedestrian travel patterns, student enrollment, and projected university growth, then turned the meeting over to Bengston to discuss the space needs analysis.
Bengston helped the audience members understand that renovations to existing structures and buildings would be focused on available space. Areas like hallways, corridors or mechanical areas can’t be used, he said.
“It’s a numbers crunch. Some of it’s based on what your governing boards of Oklahoma say you should be using space for,” he said. “We do our best to try to predict what you’re going to need 20 years from now. We start by collecting lots and lots of data and information. It’s the institution’s best guess at what they think they need in the future.”
Alternative A, or the Engage the Edge plan, would keep the campus academic core area intact, while using Grand Avenue and Crafton Street for the majority of vehicle and pedestrian travel. Parking areas would be on the edges of the main travel pattern area, which would also receive landscape changes.
Alternative B, or the Campus Neighborhoods plan, would be a bit more aggressive in what would be done with residential housing, Jack Dobbins Field House, and housing for the university president. Access to Lewis Avenue would be impacted by this plan to allow a direct corridor connection to the campus’s core area with the existing student residential area.
Alternative C, or the Unite the Campus plan, would remove Grand Avenue access from Goingsnake to Crafton Street. Lewis Avenue would be closed, while more campus pedestrian corridors would be established that would extend from the campus’s core area to the football field, as well as to the alumni center.
Kessler reminded audience members the three plans discussed are only suggestions, and prompted people to visit the Master Plan website, nsuok.edu/masterplan, to review the design layouts and provide feedback.
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