Thursday September 22, 2011

Land of Possibilities

The University of Dayton has updated its master plan. Major land purchases have nearly doubled the size of campus and changed the way University officials view how they'll guide development.

Universities are always looking to expand, but they don’t typically purchase a building that once served as headquarters for a Fortune 500 company, reclaim an urban brownfield or add a sprawling park with a moat.

Major land purchases from NCR Corp. since 2005 have nearly doubled the size of the University of Dayton to almost 400 acres — and changed the way University officials view how they'll guide development on a campus that spans both sides of the Great Miami River.

That's why the University has updated its largely obsolete 2008 master plan.

"We are living through the largest land expansion in school history, and the decisions we make today will shape our future for generations," President Daniel J. Curran writes in the introduction to the 2011 master plan.  He calls the revised plan "a bold, yet flexible, blueprint for the campus of the future."

All faculty and staff received a copy of the plan this week.  The Student Government Association is sponsoring a presentation for students at 7 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 25, in the Kennedy Union west ballroom, while faculty and staff are invited to learn more at an information session from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 12, in the Science Center auditorium. Click this link to read President Curran's invitation letter.

Nearly two dozen projects are on the drawing board, but some hinge on private support. The University is seeking $12 million to expand and renovate the Immaculate Conception Chapel.  To date, the University has raised nearly $8 million.  Other major fundraising projects include $35 million to build a University Center for the Arts near the corner of Brown and Stewart streets and $11 million to finish an interactive Alumni Center in the 1700 South Patterson Building.

Other projects, part of a carefully planned housing strategy, are expected to be financed through internal funds and bonds — such as the $25 million Caldwell Street townhouse-style apartments now under construction; $10.4 million to renovate Founders Hall; $3 million in upgrades for Campus South apartments; and $1.5 million to build new student houses in the south student neighborhood.

Other proposed projects during the next three years and beyond could include:

• $12.2 million to convert the 1700 South Patterson Building into laboratories and offices for the University of Dayton Research Institute.

• $3.7 million for infrastructure and other improvements to transform the historic Rike Center into a highly visible home for the Center for International Programs.

• $2.8 million to enhance the information technology infrastructure in Kettering Laboratories and $1 million to renovate former UDRI space for the School of Engineering.

• $10.4 million to improve the outer appearance, address infrastructure needs and transform Roesch Library into a modern learning center with more spaces for students to study and greater electronic learning tools.

"We also remain open to exploring other partnerships on West Campus that tie into our academic mission," Curran said.  GE Aviation is currently constructing a $51 million research center on eight acres on River Park Drive.

To view a multimedia presentation of the master plan, see http://www.udayton.edu/masterplan.  The site also includes a PDF of a 16-page brochure describing projects completed in the last three years and offering a glimpse of what the future might hold.

"Our master plan is an ongoing, living document that we need to continually update," Curran said. "One of the strengths of the University of Dayton is that we're an agile community and move on opportunities — whether it's curricular development, public-private partnerships or campus infrastructure enhancements."

For more information, contact Beth Keyes, vice president for facilities management, at 937-229-3769.

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