WMU News

Public sessions in master planning process, Aug. 10 and 12

July 27, 1999

KALAMAZOO -- The next in a series of public feedback sessions regarding the master planning process at Western Michigan University will take place Tuesday and Thursday, Aug. 10 and 12, in the Fetzer Center at WMU.

The Aug. 10 session, intended primarily for the University community, will begin at 1 p.m. in the Putney Auditorium, Room 1010, of the Fetzer Center. The Aug. 12 session, primarily for the public, will begin at 7 p.m., in Room 2020 of the Fetzer Center.

Richard Rigterink of JJR Inc. in Ann Arbor, WMU's master planning consultant, will conduct the sessions. He and other members of the consulting team will present two concepts for the continued physical development of each of WMU's major campus segments.

The segments are East Campus, located east of Stadium Drive and north of Oliver Street; South Campus, located south of Oliver Street between Stadium Drive and Oakland Drive; and West Campus, located west of Stadium Drive and including Goldsworth Valley.

"Each of the concepts will be sufficiently different to generate discussion and feedback, which is what they are intended to do," says Evie Asken, director of campus planning at WMU. "The goal of these sessions is to help WMU determine the future course of campus development."

Each concept will provide different solutions to issues that include relationships between possible new buildings, roadways, walkways, parking and open space as well as utility services to buildings. Participants will be able to discuss any combination of elements in those solutions.

"It's a very fluid, interactive process," Asken says. "At this point, we're working entirely with concepts. None of what we will see is yet in the form of specific recommendations. I would say we're in the early part of the middle of the planning process."

Each of the three major campus segments has been divided into districts, based on physical features of the land, the current grouping of buildings and the similarity of building and space use. Each of the two concepts the consultants will present will illustrate possible development patterns for each district.

"These alternative concepts are intended to help us test, confirm, refine and expand campus-wide development patterns and concepts that have been generated during five earlier campus visits," Asken says. "Information and perspectives gained during this visit by the consultants will be used to develop concepts involving buildings, roadways, walkways, parking, open space and services."

Each campus visit by the consultants includes meetings with representatives of key campus groups and individuals in addition to the public sessions, Asken notes. The most recent public sessions took place in April. Recommendations are expected to be presented to the University administration during the year 2000 winter semester.

The year-long master planning process involves representatives of students, faculty, staff and the public as well as the WMU Board of Trustees. They are organized into a policy committee and three focus groups. Rigterink and other JJR consultants have met with these groups about every six to eight weeks starting Feb. 2. Robert M. Beam, vice president for business and finance, is chairperson of the policy committee.

Using feedback from these groups and other information, JJR develops concepts for presentation and review that ultimately will result in recommendations. Work on the master plan is part of a University-wide planning process initiated last fall by WMU President Elson S. Floyd. The process focuses on academic programs, facilities and services, and resources, including private fund raising.

Interested persons may get more information and provide feedback regarding the master planning process using a variety of methods. Those with access to the World Wide Web may visit <www.wmich.edu/masterplan> and send e-mail to <wmu_masterplan@aa.smithgroup.com>. They also may write to Richard Rigterink, JJR Inc., 110 Miller Ave., Ann Arbor, MI 48104, or to Evie Asken, director of campus planning, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI 49008. Her e-mail address is <evie.asken@wmich.edu>.

Media contact: Mike Matthews, 616 387-8400, michael.matthews@wmich.edu

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