Summary Report on the UTA Campus Master Plan and Planning Guide/1999-2020
To: Faculty Senate
From: Faculty Senate Master Plan Committee
Ramez Elmasri, Computer Science and Engineering
Hans Kellner, English
Marian Millican, Architecture
Dennis Reinhartz, History: Chair
Judy Reinhartz, Curriculum and Instruction
Zoltan Schelly, Chemistry
After eighteen months of intensive consultation with the UTA Campus Master Planning Task Force (pp. 52 and 130), in the fall of 1999, the firm of Ford, Powell & Carson, Architects and Planners, published the UTA Campus Master Plan and Planning Guide/1999-2020. The Faculty Senate Master Plan Committee was created to provide initial faculty consideration of and response to the Master Plan. At its first meeting, the Committee decided to seek as broad faculty input as possible. Each faculty member received two postings to his/her e-mail address, asking for reactions to the Master Plan, which was made available to faculty, students, staff, and the general public online on the UTA website and in hardcopy a strategic locations across campus. This report provides a summary of the faculty responses received and the Committee’s deliberations.
Areas of broad approval:
Especially since “the last master plan for the campus—A Plan for Physical Development/Arlington State College—was completed in 1966” (p. 9) and given the concerns voiced by faculty and staff representatives during the latest UTA self-study process, there is unanimous support for long range planning and a master plan—the attempt at a narrative for the UTA Campus. There also is general praise for the effort made and resulting Master Plan. More specifically, the new Main Library and Learning Resources Center and the prioritization of its realization addresses UTA’s most significant need, and the projected Performance Hall is universally welcomed as significantly enriching to the cultural life of the campus and community beyond it.
Areas of specific concern:
There is common concern about faculty input to the planning process. There are relatively few non-administrative faculty members indicated among the contributors (p.52) to the Master Plan. It is hoped that significantly more faculty participation will be sought as each of the various parts of the Master Plan are implemented.
The problem of Cooper Street remains unresolved. Are there no innovative ways (e.g. bridging buildings) to overcome this division of the UTA campus?
Though there is general applause for the new main library, there are nevertheless serious specific concerns relating to it. While it may be of adequate size as now projected, will it be of adequate size at the time it is completed and for the longer-term future? There also are concerns about its location, especially since the new positioning requires destroying the existing central campus green. Cannot the old library be expanded upward and/or outward to the rear to preserve the existing center of the campus? Cannot the new library be built elsewhere on campus or as a structure across Cooper Street? There too are questions about access to the library from available and projected parking areas to the new library, especially for the aged and handicapped. Similar apprehension about access also exists with regard to the Performance Hall.
Somewhat related issues exist concerning the demolition of the old science and geosciences buildings. Will the demolition of these buildings and the renovation of the old library be closely coordinated with the construction of the new library? Regardless, in the mean time where do the displaced science faculty members teach and research? Are these planned physical changes to contribute to a more unified College of Science and science faculty?
Major concerns arise in regard to the new Engineering Plaza. Why Engineering Plaza? Why not some other name and location that will not lead to the further marginalization of other parts (e.g. Liberal Arts) of UTA? Is yet another new engineering building necessary? Is its location, obstructing the Second Street Concourse central artery, appropriate? Perhaps the projected new central arteries need to be looked at again.
What provisions have been made for the future unified space needs of new and existing units like the School of Education and the School of Urban and Public Affairs?
Has any consideration been given to helping develop part of the UTA “south forty” and the surrounding land along Cooper Street into a “College Town” of restaurants and other establishments to which faculty, students, and staff could walk to eat lunch or otherwise socialize? Such neighborhoods exist at the peripheries of many university campuses (e.g. Guadeloupe Street at UT Austin) and contribute significantly to campus life.
As this brief summary report points up, UTA faculty members are interested deeply in the Master Plan and the ongoing planning process. More importantly, they want to be more intimately involved through 2020 and beyond. Their thoughts and concerns recapped here prove that they are an invaluable resource that should not be neglected in any aspect of planning at UTA.