The University of Toledo’s master planning team today began to share findings of the initial analysis of campus facilities and amenities.
The brown-bag forum was the first of three scheduled sessions where the master planning team will share the results of its focus groups, interviews, community forums and building and facility evaluations. The process is looking at each of UT’s campuses to fully understand the resources and land use available for classroom and laboratory instruction, residential life and recreational activities.
“We have never done a campus master plan since combining [Main Campus] with the Health Science Campus, so this is a very important initiative,” said Jason Toth, UT associate vice president for facilities and construction.
Throughout fall semester, the planning team examined building conditions, utilization of classroom spaces and teaching laboratories, and the educational adequacy of campus facilities. Those factors will provide the decision-making criteria informing SmithGroupJJR’s recommendations for the master plan regarding the University’s multiple campuses.
Through their analysis, the planners noted a clear division in the layout of Main Campus facilities. Academic facilities are located mostly north of the Ottawa River, while residential facilities are south of the river, with few outliers in either group. They also noted a change in the character of campus moving from older areas along Bancroft Street toward the newest parts along Dorr Street. Moving around Main Campus is easy by bike with many paths, racks, and a shared bike system, but Douglas Road and the rail line are barriers for pedestrians and bikes.
Some older buildings on Main Campus are in need of investment, such as University Hall, but analysis of Health Science Campus showed that most buildings are in good condition and require continued regular maintenance. Parking is in demand for patients, visitors, students and employees, while there is confusion for patient/visitor parking.
The master planning team is still assessing the use of Scott Park Campus along with major change drivers that impact the facilities on all of the University’s campuses.
The team is coordinating its planning with the strategic enrollment planning study to anticipate future demand for academic spaces, residential beds, dining facilities and recreation spaces. Also important to the process, the team is assessing the potential impact of the College of Medicine and Life Sciences’ affiliation with ProMedica.
Following the presentation, the planners asked for feedback and encouraged questions about the analysis to date from those in attendance, fielding inquiries about consideration of alternative energy, future plans for vacant University-owned property, pedestrian rights of way and historic preservation.
“This is about having many voices heard,” Toth said. He added, “We want to hear what you have to say.”
The forum was attended by approximately 25 people representing students, faculty, staff, collective bargaining units, alumni and University neighbors.
The next session will be Wednesday, Feb. 3, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. in the Driscoll Alumni Center Auditorium on Main Campus.
An additional session has been scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 4, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Collier Building Room 1200 on Health Science Campus.
The community can continue to offer feedback and suggestions through utoledomasterplan.org.
Later in the year, the group will present potential master plan scenarios.