By SEAN ROWLEY
Wednesdays open house discussion of the preliminary master plan for Northeastern State University contained several possibilities for new construction and repurposing of existing facilities.
When finalized, the plan will include the university’s long-term vision - perhaps spanning more than 20 years - for enhancing the academic and on-campus experience for its students.
The preliminary plan presented by SmithGroupJJR divided the campus into sections. The “Academic District,” which includes much of the original 40-acre campus, contained several proposals.
Suggestions included using the space occupied by Jack Dobbins Field House to build an academic building, building a greenhouse south of the Science building, repurposing Seminary Hall as an administrative building, renovating the bathhouse, repurposing Wilson Hall, parking enhancements, technologically upgrading the John Vaughan Library into a learning commons, placing an academic building on the southeast corner of Grand Avenue and Crafton Street and repurposing the CASE and Administration buildings.
The consultants suggested few changes for the “Arts Corridor” along Muskogee Avenue or the Seminary Suites “Residential Neighborhood,” but envisioned a “Crafton Commons” around the Leoser residence hall complex.
An artist’s rendering envisioned Leoser with its wings renovated and its central structure replaced by a green area. The north and south parts of Leoser were linked by a glass-encased walkway. The plan also suggested renovation and expansion of the University Center, two new residence halls on the south side of Crafton and the closing of Lewis Avenue between the UC and Leoser to create a pedestrian mall.
“Athletic Districts” included the Fitness Center, the Doc Wadley Stadium complex and an area dubbed “RiverHawk Fields.” The Fitness Center is undergoing a renovation and a new multipurpose event center is under construction south of Wadley.
“RiverHawk Fields” imagines a reconfiguration of the soccer and spring sports areas east of campus. The tennis venue would be on the southwest corner of Crafton and North Cedar Avenue. To the west would be two soccer pitches, including Dr. Dan F. DeLoache Field, then the baseball diamond. Directly across Crafton from the baseball venue would be the softball field. Two additional field house structures and additional parking would be built.