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Land of possibilities

1:17 PM  Jan 5th, 2012
by Matthew Dewald

We can’t see the future, but we know a good opportunity when we see it — and we seize it.

The 2008 version of the University’s master plan — the last one published — outlined a number of projects to guide the physical development of our campus. But the University’s most significant transformation during the past three years wasn’t then on the drawing board.

The opportunity to expand our boundaries and show our commitment to the city and region could not be ignored when NCR Corp. moved its world headquarters to Georgia in 2009. We purchased the property in December of that year, an acquisition that University President Daniel J. Curran called “a bold move for a private, Catholic university” — and one that was noticed nationally by, among others, The Chronicle of Higher Education and The New York Times.

As a result of the purchase, we’ve updated our master plan. The 2011 master plan serves as a bold, yet flexible, blueprint for the campus of the future and ties directly into our strategic plan. This master plan, which builds on the 2008 plan, guides our physical development as one of the nation’s pre-eminent Catholic universities.

The NCR purchase is the biggest change to the 2008 campus master plan. It gives us more room to house departments and classes and frees space on our core campus for other projects. It’s an exciting time as we embrace physical expansion and transformation while continuing to maintain the unique character of our University of Dayton campus.

We hope you’ll soon have a chance to see the changes firsthand, whether you’re returning for Reunion Weekend or just a random weekend — or showing a prospective student in your life what it means to be a Flyer. Be sure to tell that student that you had to walk up Stuart Hill. Both ways. In the snow. Some things never change.


What’s on our drawing board?

• 1700 South Patterson The $18 million acquisition of 115 acres of land from NCR Corp. was one of the most transformational moves since the purchase that established UD in 1850. It is believed to be the first time an institution of higher education has made such a purchase. It’s now part of campus. 1700 South Patterson has become home to the first phase of an interactive Alumni Center. The second phase, which is expected to add gathering and exhibition spaces and an auditorium, is in the planning and fundraising stages.

The University of Dayton Research Institute’s Technologically Advanced Cognition Laboratory, sensor systems division, and the director’s and other offices have arrived, and more UDRI offices and labs are coming. Graduate courses in educational leadership, counselor education and business administration are being taught here, as well as classes in the Intensive English Program. The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute also calls the building home.

• Old River Park The University has hired SWA Group, an internationally recognized landscape architecture, planning and urban design firm, to create a master plan for Old River Park. The plan will focus on preserving the 48-acre park’s historical character and natural beauty while connecting it to campus and guiding its development for academic, research and recreational use. It will remain closed in 2012 as officials develop a timeline and funding plan for making multimillion-dollar improvements over phases.

The GE Aviation EPISCENTER will be completed in early 2013.

• GE Aviation Electrical Power Integrated Systems Research and Development Center (EPISCENTER) Groundbreaking took place in April 2011 on the EPISCENTER, a $51 million project encompassing eight acres on River Park Drive. When completed in early 2013, the area will feature a four-story facility with a 40,000-square-foot office building connected to an 80,000-square-foot, world-class electrical research center. It will be the first new LEED-certified building on campus.

• University Center for the Arts The University Center for the Arts, a major University fundraising initiative, will bring together the visual and performing arts recently scattered among seven buildings. In addition to classroom, studio and office space, the center could include a major music and theatrical performance venue, a black-box theater and recital hall, atrium and galleries, lecture hall and art library, and Flyer TV and digital media studio. The new center will promote collaboration across the arts and invite new partnerships with community arts organizations. Construction on the arts center, estimated to cost $35 million, will begin once fundraising is complete.

College Park Center The College Park Center has been part of the University campus since 2005. Today, nearly all of the space in the 450,000-plus square-foot, six-story building is occupied. Residents include the visual arts department and doctoral program in physical therapy, the Dayton Early College Academy, Marianist archives, University advancement and a variety of engineering labs, including intelligent optics, biomechanics, electro-optics and LADAR.

The Caldwell Street Apartments will be ready for student move-in for the 2012-13 academic year.

• Caldwell Street Apartments In 2012, more than 400 students will move into a new apartment complex on campus. Ground-breaking for the $25 million Caldwell Street Apartments took place in May 2011. The apartments will have a townhouse-style façade and 427 beds for upperclassmen and international students when completed in time for the 2012-13 academic year. A courtyard will connect the five buildings in the complex.

Chapel of the Immaculate Conception Fundraising is well under way for the $12 million renovation to the Chapel of the Immaculate Conception. As of June 30, 2011, UD had raised almost $8 million in gifts, pledges and planned gifts. Once fundraising is complete, UD will break ground for the approximately 18-month construction process; a temporary worship space will be set up for Mass each weekend in the
Kennedy Union ballroom. For more information, go to www.udayton.edu/alumni/give/chapel_renovation.php.

An upgraded Stuart Field offers students 5.6 acres of high-use, high-performance, multipurpose fields that play and feel like natural grass.

• Stuart Field The 2011 Princeton Review ranked UD eighth nationally on its “Everybody Plays Intramural Sports” list. A $2.25 million renovation to Stuart Field might be a reason to rise even higher. After years of playing on a beloved but muddy mess, UD’s 3,700 intramural and sport club participants are enjoying upgraded playing surfaces with synthetic turf that accommodates sports from lacrosse to soccer, flag football, softball and more.

Over the next three years, the University will invest more than $100 million in its learning-living infrastructure, funded through a combination of University resources, private support, private-public partnerships, and federal and state grants.

The Caldwell housing project, for example, is just the newest step in a plan to provide an unparalleled residential experience to students. Marianist Hall opened in 2004, Marycrest Hall got a facelift from 2006 to 2008, Stuart Hall renovations are complete, and upgrades to the safety and appearance of houses in the student neighborhoods are ongoing. Students in Virginia W. Kettering Residence Hall this year are the first to enjoy a renovation of the hall’s dining facilities.

A renovation to the Virginia W. Kettering Residence Hall dining facilities created two theme restaurants that opened in November.

Future housing-related plans include a renovation of rooms and restroom facilities in Founders Hall and upgrades to the student neighborhoods, including the construction of five new houses, four on Lowes and one on Rogge. Currently, 5,907 beds are available for students. The new apartments and houses will increase that number to 6,334.

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

• Converting more of the 1700 South Patterson Building into laboratories and offices for the University of Dayton Research Institute.

• Improving the outer appearance, addressing infrastructure needs and transforming Roesch Library into a modern learning center with more spaces for students to study and greater electronic learning tools.

•  Renovating John F. Kennedy Memorial Student Union.

•  Modernizing Alumni Hall.

• Finishing renovation of the Science Center, including high-tech labs, new windows, classroom renovations, technology upgrades and infrastructure improvements.

•  Adding further open space enhancements, such as a pedestrian/bike greenway and multi-use recreation/basketball courts near RecPlex.

•  Renovating Chaminade Hall or funding a new home for the School of Education and Allied Professions.

•  Developing a restaurant at the Arena Sports Complex in partnership with a commercial enterprise.

“Some of the projects in our master plan are dependent upon fundraising. We also remain open to exploring other partnerships on Campus West (west of Main Street) that tie into our academic mission,” University President Daniel J. Curran said.


The ripple effect

Mathematician Edward Lorenz lent his talents to forecasting weather for the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II, but he is better remembered for the chaos theory he later developed, memorably coining the term “butterfly effect” for the outsized meteorological implications of seemingly small phenomena. A butterfly flapping its wings in Tokyo, goes the cliché that now endures, could cause a tornado in California.

The purchase of enough property to double the size of campus is of far more significance than a butterfly flapping its wings, and the effects of this expansion are being felt by more than the programs relocating to the new land and facilities.

The UD Research Institute’s move to River Campus, for example, frees valuable Kettering Labs space for the School of Engineering’s use. The construction of the planned University Center for the Arts allows for the demolition of the Music/Theatre Building, which will open space for significant upgrades of Baujan Field. The relocation of visual arts programs to College Park Center allowed the demolition of Mechanical Engineering — which, in turn, created space for the Central Mall — and freed up Rike Center, which in January became a highly visible home for the growing Center for International Programs. The center’s  move, in turn, opens up space in Alumni Hall.

And so on. The future remains a canvas full of  possibilities.


Change is good

Image from a 1920 campus planning document

Imagine the Immaculate Conception Chapel without its distinctive blue cupola with the cross on top. Picture instead a
bell tower that stands as the highest point on campus.

If the 1920 land-use master plan had been followed to completion, that would be how we would know campus today. But the University preserved the cupola and cross.

Interesting details can be found in UD’s past master plans, all of which show how different the University could have looked had UD not adapted to new times and opportunities as it did.

A workable plan, includng the one UD has today, must be open to the possibility of change. The University remains focused on its long-range goals but recognizes that flexibility is necessary if circumstances change.

The master plan is a land-use plan, one in which UD looks to “pilot a path forward using our current resources,” says Beth Keyes, vice president for facilities management. “The best laid plans are made to be broken.”

For a more comprehensive look at the 2011 master plan, go to udayton.edu/masterplan.

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