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OSU campus master plan moves forward during charrette

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Representatives of The Benham Companies, the consulting firm leading the development of a new master plan for OSU’s Stillwater campus, and university representatives recently participated in a three-day charrette.

Approximately 30 faculty, staff and students comprising the master plan stakeholder committee joined Benham planners and engineers at the Wes Watkins Center for the April 20-22 design and planning exercise. An initial stage of the development of the new master plan, the charrette allowed each stakeholder to voice the current and future needs of his or her department and vision for OSU.

The first task involved developing guiding principles. These principles (listed below in no specific order of importance) will be used to define and guide the development of the master plan, according to Doug Hartwig, Benham corporate vice president and managing director of its Oklahoma City office.

  • Incorporate Bennett Plan design principles
  • Embrace recognized sustainable principles
  • Enhance core vitality and synergy
  • Value special buildings and spaces
  • Promote safety and security through design
  • Prioritize interdisciplinary interaction on campus
  • Establish campus gateways
  • Incorporate aesthetics and art throughout the campus
  • Improve wayfinding
  • Encourage complementary land uses on the perimeter of campus
  • Coordinate campus and community development

Each principle has objectives that will be identified throughout the planning process. Additions or clarifications to these principles may be made at subsequent planning exercises.

On the charrette’s first day, stakeholders’ expressed their current and future needs as well as their vision for OSU as a whole. Much of the time was spent listening and trying to understand everyone’s needs and objectives, according to Hartwig.

The discourse grew more specific on Thursday, with discussions focusing on design elements, traffic, parking and other ideas for the overall campus. Other issues that surfaced and were discussed included:

  • Core campus
  • Housing
  • Vision of future campus and surrounding community
  • Campus aesthetics
  • Building locations
  • Building uses
  • Campus atmosphere
  • Growth
  • Traffic, internal and external to campus
  • Parking
  • Pedestrian traffic
  • Implementation and management strategies

Citing traffic patterns, land uses and commercial development in and around campus and the impact they have on campus life, the stakeholders expressed their desire to see campus master planning efforts coordinated with the City of Stillwater’s master plan. According to Hartwig, the stakeholders are committed to working with the city to develop land use plans specifically for these areas in an effort to add value to the university setting.

Benham developed a draft of the campus plan in an effort to validate ideas collected from the two previous days and to begin to focus the multitude of ideas into one all encompassing plan. On the final day of the charrette, the stakeholder committee reviewed the initial concept, and, individually, each member discussed his or her initial reaction to the plan. Clarifications to previous comments were made and additional items, not discussed prior, were offered. It was a very important review and discussion time in the development of the plan, Hartwig said.

Collaboration between stakeholders quickly provided a clearer picture for the needs of OSU. As anticipated, the initial plan did not meet the complete needs or ideas of the Stakeholders. This was expected and is typical for this master planning process, according to Hartwig.

The stakeholders determined the plan had undeveloped issues and decided it would be premature to offer the plan for review to those outside of the stakeholder committee. Though eager to share the ideas and concepts with others, they felt it to be prudent not to issue a plan at this time. All stakeholders anticipate that an additional two or three iterations of the concept must occur before the picture is sufficiently clear to share with others outside the planning team.

As a result of the charrette, the following future actions were developed:

  • All departments will provide information relating to current occupied building area and future required space to meet their five-year and 20-year projections for the size of their department.
  • Benham will take the ideas from the third day and develop Concept Plan 2.
  • The Stakeholders and Benham will meet on May 11 to review Concept Plan 2.

A general, flexible timeline for the planning process also emanated from the charrette. Public meetings will be held on campus and with the City of Stillwater during the process to allow additional comments from interested parties outside of the stakeholder committee. Additional dates may be added as future activities are developed.

  • May 11 – Stakeholders meeting to review Concept Plan 2
  • May, June – Benham develops Concept Plan 3
  • July – Meeting with OSU Regents in work session to review Concept Plan 3
  • August – Benham develops Concept Plan 4
  • September – Stakeholders review Concept Plan 4
  • October - Benham develops final Master Plan and stakeholders review Master Plan
  • November – Benham writes Master Plan
  • December – Master Plan presented to OSU Regents for approval
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