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PLANNING NEEDS & PRIORITIES

 

 “When the first building of the UMass Dartmouth campus was completed in 1966, some thought it heralded the construction of the most beautiful campus in the U.S.  Others were appalled by its austere gray style.  Whatever the reaction, architect Paul Rudolph’s vision for the campus evoked a strong response then and still does today.” [1]

 “SMU is a new commuter campus on a very large piece of land well removed from other structures. Its design started with Jefferson's University of Virginia and his defined "lawn" surrounded by pavilions connected with covered walks on two sides with the rotunda addressing the view on the opposite side. SMU's "lawn" is a spiraling space, defined by a series of connected buildings on opposites sides, with a narrowed entry at one end and an open ended space at the other where the spiral becomes much larger, is marked by a campanile, and turns towards the lake. This central pedestrian complex was set in a mile diameter access drive connecting to an inner ring of parking. I got fired before the "spiral" was finished but fortunately I had some friends in other architectural offices who saw it through.” - Paul Rudolph[2]

UMass Dartmouth is at a cross roads in terms of the overall vision for the main campus.  UMassDTransform2020, the strategic planning process, will challenge the current state of affairs.  In response to this process it has become a priority to develop a new facilities masterplan that will transform and reinvent our physical plant while providing a flexible blueprint for not just now but for the future. 


The Updated Campus Master Plan is priority #9 on the FY14 Capital Plan Update

Many unrealized priority projects from previous masterplans and capital plan submissions remain as unfunded mandates.  These projects will be reviewed in any new planning process but deserve discussion here.

FY14 #7 & #12 – Feasibility Study / New Academic Building (FY13 #8 & #9): 

The next mentioned opportunity for a major project for state support is a new academic building.  The increasing demand on classroom space as well as the growth of academic programs continues to strain the existing campus space inventory.  The University is experiencing a continuous rise in its need for space and has been leasing square footage to compensate for the lack of space on campus.  This project will add necessary square footage to the main campus.   The 2005 Masterplan states "Option that might be considered is new construction, whereby contemporary classrooms are created and existing classrooms are subsequently "retired" to other uses, including offices and support space.  This approach would help resolve other space issues on campus."  A feasibility study would investigate the best approach.

FY14 #11 - Security Installation Project (FY13 #7): 

The lessons learned from the aftermath of the 19-April-2013 event related to the Boston Marathon tragedy have demonstrated a definite need for increasing the security infrastructure on campus.  The Report of The Special Task Force states “Much of UMass Dartmouth’s surveillance camera system is outdated and should be upgraded. Current technologies will leverage the DPS’s existing resources and provide for more effective campus safety. Systems can be designed with sufficient transparency to satisfy privacy concerns. In addition, other technological upgrades or efforts should be undertaken to increase the communications capacity (distributed antenna system) or campus safety (upgraded building access system).”[3]  The focus of this proposed project is the installation of security card access and CCTV cameras to the exterior of all main campus facilities and the interior of strategically identified areas.  Although there are some legacy systems in place this is an area that has been identified for improvement in the investigations in response to the security event on campus.  This will work toward providing a safer environment for students, faculty, staff and university visitors.

 FY14 #14 – Campus Entrance Building (FY13 #18): 

Looking to improve the focus on recruitment and retention of potential students and to improve the safety of the university community a Campus Entrance Building has been identified as a priority project. The current location of Admissions is somewhat difficult to find and does not have significant reserved parking for visitors.  The Public Safety Department is currently located in two different buildings and its Dispatch Office does not meet electrical and fire protection standards for a function that must be operational during emergencies.  As demonstrated by events that occurred in FY13 Hurricane Sandy, Winter Storm Nemo and the 19-April-2013 event related to the Boston Marathon tragedy a functioning Emergency Operations Center is required for continuality of university operations and provide the adequate command and control to ensure safety to the university community residential or non-residential.  In addition communication systems between the university and first responders need adequate redundancy. This situation was also noted in The Report of The Special Task Force “Finally, while it falls outside the scope of its charge, the Task Force could not ignore the situation regarding the building where DPS is currently located. The building is co-located with the university’s cogeneration facility and literally sits on top of several very large generators and next to several very large tanks of potentially flammable contents. Since the DPS is the heart of the university’s emergency response, an industrial accident at the power plant/police building could have serious adverse consequences regarding the university’s emergency response capacity. Police facilities are expensive and it is understandable in times of shrinking fiscal resources that universities make do with existing facilities. However, the location of the UMass Dartmouth DPS in the same building as the campus power plant is extremely problematic from a strategic emergency management perspective and should be addressed as soon as possible.”[4]  Correcting these problems in situ would cost nearly as much as co-locating these two groups in a highly visible new building at the campus entrance which would include ample parking for visitors.

 FY14 #20 – Campus Center Addition (Student Union) (FY13 #33):

The campus master plan recommends the construction of additions to the Campus Center Building to accommodate the growing needs of our larger student population.  Student unions continue to play a central role on college campuses as a gathering place.  The most frequently reported reasons for visiting the union include eating, socializing with friends, studying independently, and obtaining information about campus events, using a computer or visting a retail shop.  Sixty-seven percent of students nationwide reported they attended programs, speakers, events or performances at a student union at least once a semester and 61 percent report spending one or more hours at the student union during the week.  Many work units serving students are scattered in classroom buildings or the Foster Administration Building.  Some additional space recommended in the master plan would add to the building on the east side to accommodate student organizations that cannot currently be assigned dedicated space and to centralize class registration, student counseling, and other student-oriented functions in one building.  Other additional space recommended in the master plan would add to the building on the west side to accommodate additional dining room space.

 FY14 #24 – Centennial Way Retail Corridor (FY13 #37): 

The Centennial Way Retail Corridor would begin to address the lack of opportunities that students, faculty and administrative personnel have for retail shopping.  Currently with limited exceptions this exists off campus causing everyone to leave in order to make routine purchases.  This is especially apparent off hours and weekends.  This concept would incorporate smart growth, transportation and parking.  This development would start to go a long way to put the "town" into the phrase "college town".  UMass-Dartmouth working with UMBA is investigating if this would be a potential pilot project for a Public Private Partnership.

 FY14 #30 – Central Administrative Services Building (FY13 #31):

Initially the plan calls for building two modular buildings (one for garage functions and vehicular and equipment storage, the second for the Print Shop, Mail Distribution Center, Facilities Shops, and administrative units) at the east end of the campus in an area not visible from the main academic buildings and Ring Road but close to the existing steam plant building.  The work will include the construction of parking for assigned personnel and a new emergency egress road to Chase Road.   The creation of the Chase Road Exit addresses the serious second egress issues raised in the campus Facilities Master Plan, as well as the campus Emergency Response Plan. The Chase Road Exit construction would entail a new two-lane roadway from the Ring Road to Chase Road on the eastern edge of the campus meeting all Massachusetts Highway Department standards including curbing and lighting.  This road would provide access to the proposed Facilities Building site and would also provide a secondary vehicular egress from the campus in case of emergency evacuation of the site.  After Auxiliary Services and Facilities functions are moved into the new building, the spaces they have vacated will be retrofit for use by academic units for research space, storage, offices and one classroom.

 FY14 #36 – Amphitheater: 

The focus of the proposed project would be to investigate the possibility of putting a tensile structure over the existing amphitheater to increase the viability of use.  Currently commencement ceremonies have to be relocated from this area to indoor locations in inclement weather.  This project would also expand the use of this area for University sponsored and external events.  There is the potential this could be developed as a Public Private Partnership.

 


[1] Statement from “Breaking New Ground: Paul Rudolph and the Architecture of the UMass Dartmouth Campus” – April 2005

[2] Davern, Jeanne M. “A Conversation with Paul Rudolph.” Architectural Record 170 (March 1982) : 90-97

[3] Report of the Special Task Force “University of Massachusetts Dartmouth’s Response to Select Issues Related to Boston Marathon Bombing” (August 15, 2013)

[4] Report of the Special Task Force “University of Massachusetts Dartmouth’s Response to Select Issues Related to Boston Marathon Bombing” (August 15, 2013)

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