Monday February 18, 2008

An Extraordinary Opportunity

A new campus master plan will change the face of the University of Dayton for decades to come with new academic facilities, green space and mixed-used development.

Poised to embark on the largest expansion in University of Dayton history, UD officials today publicly unveiled a new master plan for the 259-acre campus that will serve as a catalyst for academic and mixed-use development on the southern edge of Dayton.

The $25 million purchase of land, playing fields, parking lots and buildings from NCR Corp. in June 2005 and the adoption of a strategic plan have enabled UD to "look boldly toward creating a campus of the future that extends to the Great Miami River and beyond," said Daniel J. Curran, president. "It is an extraordinary time of opportunity. We are shaping our future as one of the nation's preeminent Catholic universities while continuing to invest millions of dollars annually in a learning-living environment that supports academic excellence and innovation."

In the past five years, UD, the largest private university in Ohio, has expended more than $150 million on renovation and construction, including Marianist Hall, ArtStreet, RecPlex, the Science Center, an Innovation Center in the School of Engineering, University Place, a sports complex, Courtyard by the Marriott-University of Dayton and student houses, duplexes and townhouses. With the 50-acre acquisition, UD's campus has grown by nearly a quarter.  

The plan has been approved by UD's board of trustees, which established the overall vision for the master plan and was closely involved in its development, Curran said. "The trustees were instrumental in shaping this visionary plan to ensure that it was consistent with UD's strategic direction and faithful to its history," he said. "I deeply appreciate their careful stewardship and leadership."

Curran said the board will continue to be involved in reviewing the financing/fundraising plans for individual projects. Those envisioned over the next decade and beyond could include:

* An expansion of the historic 1869 Immaculate Conception Chapel, which will retain its architectural features but include more seating, a baptistery and other liturgical space. UD has raised part of the funds for the renovation, which is expected to begin in 2009 or 2010.

* A new University Center for the Arts and arts plaza on Brown Street across from Holy Angels Church. The departments of visual arts, music and theater, dispersed in outgrown facilities around campus, would be consolidated in the center, which is also expected to include gallery, museum and performance space. UD will work closely with the local arts community to ensure that the center meets both the needs of campus and the Dayton region. The center will "put a prominent, public face on the University of Dayton and extend our front porch into the community," Curran said. The University of Dayton, currently in the "quiet phase" of a fund-raising campaign, will seek philanthropic support for the construction.

* A STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) building, possibly connected to Wohlleben Hall, one of UD's science buildings. It would provide space for the growing areas of bioscience and bioengineering, among other initiatives. UD attracted approximately $73 million in sponsored STEM research last year. That's the majority of its annual $76 million sponsored research volume.

* A sustainable residence hall, possibly sited in the north student neighborhood. Proposed by students in an honors biology course, the facility would include both a residential and educational wing and could employ solar energy and geothermal heating and cooling systems. "While sustainability would be the focus of the new residence hall, sustainability and environmental issues will be a focus for all new and renovated buildings," Curran said. Much like ArtStreet in the south student neighborhood, this would be a signature building -- one that symbolizes UD's commitment to environmental responsibility.

* A mixed-use building on the corner of Brown and Stewart streets to extend the revitalized Brown-Warren business corridor. UD will partner with a private developer on the project. In the past two years, UD teamed with developers on two new ventures: University Place, a two-story, mixed-use development across from this site and Courtyard Dayton-University of Dayton, a hotel near UD Arena.

* Three proposed new facilities require continued discussion by UD's trustees. A new campus library is envisioned where Kennedy Union now stands. Burt Hill recommends that a campus union be built in C parking lot, and UD's National Alumni Association supports the construction of an alumni center on the new acreage.

* Chaminade Hall, the home of the School of Education and Allied Professions, boasts both historic vintage and a sturdy red-brick shell. Considered an "iconic campus building" by Burt Hill, it's recommended to undergo an expansion and renovation. A renovation of the former Physical Activities Center into an athletic practice facility is expected to include a new façade, training facilities, possibly six NCAA-regulation tennis courts and study hall space for student-athletes.

* Three residence halls -- Marycrest Complex, Stuart Hall and Founders Hall -- are slated for continued renovation, and the master plan recommends the eventual construction of a new residence hall adjacent Founders Hall. Burt Hill recommends preserving the front-porch character of the student neighborhoods.

* A pedestrian corridor/bikeway is proposed to link the entire campus, from Shroyer Road to the historic core, student neighborhoods, the Great Miami River and beyond. The demolition of the outdated Mechanical Engineering Building will allow the development of a "green mall" with landscaped paths. Synthetic turf will be installed on Stuart Field for intramural sports use.

* Campus West -- 23 acres of land between Main Street and Patterson Boulevard -- is currently undergoing environmental remediation and will be prepared for development by fall. "The revitalization of this brownfield may ultimately be the largest and most complex redevelopment project in Dayton," Curran said. "We're taking a cautious, collaborative approach to future development. We will consult with campus and community leaders and entertain proposals for projects that complement development along Brown Street, downtown and in the region.

* A 700-space parking lot on Campus West is expected to be used in the interim to replace parking displaced by development. In the long term, UD is exploring new surface lots, a shuttle system and parking garages.

The University of Dayton, a highly residential campus that draws undergraduates from around the nation and the world, is not expected to grow from its current optimal level of 6,800 undergraduate students. Instead, UD officials want to increase graduate enrollment and sponsored research, now at a record $76 million.

Burt Hill, an international architecture, design and engineering firm, created the plan under the guidance of Richard Perales, director of University campus planning, and a 13-member campus steering committee headed by Ted Bucaro, director of government and regional relations. Burt Hill interviewed more than 100 people and held more than a dozen focus groups during the 18-month process.  Other members of Burt Hill's team included Woolpert Consultants, Envision Strategies, Walker Parking Consultants and Tripp Umbach. For more information, see udcampusmasterplan.udayton.edu.

UD officials have sought input and shared the final plan with community leaders and neighborhood organizations in an effort to complement development efforts in the region. "As development begins, we will continue to work closely with city officials, economic development groups and neighbors to implement this master plan," Curran said.

For media interviews, contact Richard Perales at 937-229-4339.

Richard Perales at 937-229-4339.