Letter from the Chancellor

To: University Community

Subject: Facilities Master Plan

As you know, we have been involved for the past several years in a continuous strategic planning process, with an immediate focus on areas identified as needing improvement. The University Planning Council (UPC) had an active Focus Group on Facilities and presented numerous recommendations for assessment in their report, as well as a recommendation that the campus develop a Facilities Master Plan. As a public institution in the Commonwealth, we are required to use outside experts to develop a formal Master Plan. This formal Master Plan will allow us to move forward and request capital funding for any recommendations made as a part of this process.

I am pleased to announce that a contract has been awarded to Chan Krieger and Associates to develop a Facilities Master Plan for the campus with us. Chan Krieger is an architectural and design firm with extensive experience in education. Some of their recent educational clients include Brandeis University, Clark University, Harvard University, the Rhode Island School of Design , the University of Cincinnati, and the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. Alex Krieger, a principal of Chan Krieger and Chair of the Department of Urban Planning and Design at Harvard, notes in their proposal that he is "most interested in how the design of physical environments can best shape social interactions and facilitate community. Since the physical setting of an institution inevitably embodies its academic mission and helps define the quality of life on campus, the establishment of a campus master pan is a crucial undertaking… This is best done by broadening the community's understanding of what is at stake, of consensus building, of the value of sound planning, and how to participate." We are indeed pleased with the selection of Chan Krieger to provide Master Planning services for UMass Dartmouth.

This will be the first Facilities Master Plan for the Dartmouth Campus in over 30 years. We are able to undertake this project now under the auspices of the state Division of Capital Asset Management with a $400,000 investment of state bond funds. Facilities Master Planning is a significant step in establishing a path to sound planning for our future. It will tell us what our existing conditions are, where we need to invest in repairs and renovations, and where we need to consider new construction. This will be an intensive, inclusive process, which will require extensive campus input.

There is much information and good work that has already preceded this process. Previous reports, as well as the work of the UPC focus group will be a good jumping off point. The practical yearly work of the Faculty Federation Committee on Space Planning and Allocation will provide valuable insight into faculty space issues. In order to ensure a successful Master Plan, we will need a much larger group to help oversee this complex project. In the next several weeks, I will be forming a steering committee to oversee the Master Planning Process. I have asked Provost Tom Curry and Vice Chancellor Don Zekan to chair this committee. Shortly, I will ask each of the unions, the Faculty Senate, the Student Senate, and administrative leaders to make nominations to me of people who should serve on this committee. I will also include several members of the UPC Facilities focus group. Part of the charge to the Steering Committee will be to ensure that the planning process is open and inclusive, and to communicate progress to the larger University community.

I am pleased that we are moving forward on this project, and I know that all of you will join me in providing the necessary input to Chan Krieger and Associates.

Most sincerely,
Jean F. MacCormack