University’s 20/20 plan continues to increase growth

Anne Buie

It’s been two years since the university’s 20/20 master plan was updated, and since then six buildings have been added.

These buildings include: Reich College of Education, George G. Beasley Media Complex, Mountaineer Hall, Summit Hall, the Plemmons Student Union Addition and the Summit Hall Annex, said Physical Plant Director Mike O’Connor.

The university’s master plan’s goal is to “quantify new facility needs and potential areas those needs could be sited on university property,” O’Connor said.

The university master plan is revised every 10 to 15 years, he said.

The plan was last revised in 2010.

“It’s like a book, and it says ‘Here’s what we think we need as the university grows,’ and it says ‘If you grow by this much, this is where you could potentially put a building to support that growth,'” O’Connor said.

O’Connor said some standard design guidelines have been developed to ensure what is being built is in harmony with the school’s sustainability goals, current exterior architecture and the university’s strategic plan.

“The plan also identifies sites for future building placements around the campus,” O’Connor said. “The number one academic project is a new site for the College of Health Sciences. Right now the proposed location is the corner of State Farm and Deer Field road out near the hospital, right across from the hospital parking garage.”

This is the largest project, costing $8.2 million, O’Connor said.

“The plan is feasible, but any buildings requiring state funding are currently on hold, and will be on hold until the legislature act to provide capital construction money to the University System,” O’Connor said.

As a result of the hold on funding, the plan’s progress has slowed down, but is still on time.

Most buildings are funded by the state, said Provost of Academic Affairs Lori Gonzalez.

Also, when funds are available, Appalachian can receive “repair and renovation” funds from the state.

Residence halls are built with money from student fees or receipts, Gonzalez said.

Adding to Kidd Brewer stadium is not currently part of the plan, but the plan is always subject to revision, O’Connor said.

“We were also fortunate to receive a generous donation from the Schaefers to renovate Farthing Auditorium to be renamed the Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts,” O’Connor said.

Projects like these are “self-funded,” so they can move forward without direct state appropriations, he said.

Rob Richardson is principal of The Lawrence Group, the multi-discipline planning firm assisting with the university’s plan.

Richardson said the plan was developed based on ten “guiding principles;” each serving as a “filter” for the decision-making process and basis for the design.

“The planning process took about six months,” Richardson said. “The scope of services was defined as ‘a project approach to develop a physical updated master plan that effectively embodies the campus community’s mission by integrating five distinct phases of work through on-site workshop’. The five phases include observations, conceptual plan, precinct studies, design standards and master planning.”

The current plan was developed by the Lawrence Group from Davidson, N.C., along with input from the entire town and the university.


Story: KATELYN BYNG, Intern News Reporter