What will campus look like in 2030?

A campus master plan detailing proposed changes to Augustana’s physical campus was presented to students, faculty and staff on Feb. 10.

Kevin King is the principal of campus planning at Smithgroup, the architecture company in charge of Augustana’s planning process. Smithgroup is headquartered in Detroit and has worked for over 400 higher learning institutions including New York University, Arizona State University and the University of Texas in Dallas.

King said Augustana’s main goals are increasing enrollment, adding professional schools and improving the infrastructure of campus.

“The facilities are not meeting our aspirations,” King said.

The master plan was sent to the President’s Council on Feb. 11 and will ultimately be taken to the Board of Trustees for final approval before work on any projects begins.

Vision 2030 goals require infrastructure

King explained the overall systematic needs for improving the campus as part of Vision 2030, which include:

Another academic building as enrollment increases.

  • A visitor center and one-stop shop for newcomers.
  • A central meeting space for student organizations.
  • Renovation and repositioning of existing residence halls.
  • Renovation of Old Main, the administration building, the Morrison Commons and the Edith Mortenson Center.
  • Expanding and improving athletic programs.
  • These programmatic needs would translate into more buildings on campus, including another residence hall near Solberg, which would hold 220 additional beds.

King proposed replacing Granskou and Stavig, Old Main and the theme housing on the northern edge of campus. King also suggested acquiring the Sioux Falls Seminary to house administrative offices and repurposing Old Main as an honors college.

King’s plans for improving the athletic programs would mean building a separate recreation building, which would be open to the public. The current baseball, softball and soccer fields would be refurbished, and the Sanford Pentagon, Howard Wood Field and the Midco Aquatic Center would be used to integrate Augustana further into the Sioux Falls community.

Key planning includes community partners

The three main objectives that the campus master plan seeks to accomplish are partnering with the community on and off campus, connecting the campus and developing clear visitor experiences and campus thresholds.

In order to create interactions within the community, King said the ultimate goal is to brand Sioux Falls and Augustana together through athletics, cultural events and medical education.

King also said he hopes to connect the campus physically by linking the north and south parts through treating 33rd Street as a boulevard, implementing protected crosswalks, building low walls along Grange Avenue and converting University Place to emergency access only.

King said this will create three “front doors” to life at Augustana.

Accessibility is a major need

Because many of the campus buildings are not up to the standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), King suggested making these a top priority.

This would include adding another entrance to the south side of the administration building that would hold an elevator and renovating the southside residence halls.

Despite the 2030 time stamp on the campus master plan, both Bergsaker and Solberg have “accessibility issues that need to be solved today,” King said.

Yes, parking is on the list

Currently, Augie has just under 1,900 parking spaces, and nearly all of the central lots are 100% full. Despite the edge parking lots being emptier, King proposed adding about 800 parking spaces.

King also suggested adding emergency call boxes to ensure safety on campus, especially on perimeter lots.

Each emergency call box has a $100,000 price tag, and while they’re rarely used, Rick Tupper, associate vice president of university services, said they are mostly a visual component of safety.

“We would look at how we would provide both the visual perspective of security but also a functional perspective, as well,” Tupper said.

Staff want more student spaces

At the end of the presentation, King took questions and comments from the gathered faculty and staff.

Willette Capers, director of diversity, equity and inclusion, suggested improving student gathering spaces, specifically for students who live off campus.

“Something for me that’s really important is that connection piece with students, that they have that central gathering point outside of the dining hall or their residence halls,” Capers said. “Knowing that they have these places, they can [use them as] affinity spaces or for clubs and organizations.”

Associate Director of Campus Life Michelle Harvey also expressed a need for larger gathering spaces.

“We can’t get our first-year students in one room except for the Elmen Center, which is too big,” Harvey said. “The football team can’t do a banquet without kicking everybody else out [of the dining hall].”

But, this is just the beginning.

This overall campus master plan is just that: a plan. If approved, the next step is to bring it to design.

For each building project, Directory of Facility Services Andrea Miller said they will put out a request for a proposal and hire architects accordingly, who will then bring it through full design.

Leave a Reply

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: