Plan updated for first time in 11 years
The Campus Master Plan is in the process of being redeveloped, and will set a framework for how Queen’s-owned property will evolve over the next 10 to 15 years
The University is updating its Campus Master Plan and they hope to make West Campus a destination for student life.
Changes could mean more academic programs and food outlets on the campus as a means to attract students to the area.
According to Jo-Anne Brady, vice-provost of planning and budgeting, making West Campus an accessible destination for the student body will help create a link between both campuses.
The updated Campus Master Plan (CMP) — which will map out a framework of how Queen’s-owned property will develop and evolve over the next 10 to 15 years — is set for approval in March of 2014.
A main focus of the CMP will be the linkage between the University’s four main properties: Main Campus, West Campus, Innovation Park (Princess St. and Bath Rd.) and the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts, which is set to open in 2014 off of King St. West.
“We have a challenge to try to ensure that there is a linkage among and between those four learning hubs,” Brady said.
She added that the University has also identified a need for more student life, study and research areas.
In order to determine what the changes will be, Brady said the consultation process with students, faculty, administration and city stakeholders will continue throughout the year.
Brady added that right now West Campus is not a place that students necessarily think of as a place to live, learn and work.
She said incoming students tend to be unhappy with room assignments on West Campus and she hopes this sentiment is changed by further development of the property.
In December, the University hired a planning firm called Urban Strategies to lead the development of the CMP and gather input from students and community residents. Urban Strategies is the main firm on board, but it also coordinates with smaller partners who specialize in certain areas of development.
The overall cost of the CMP update is $400,000, which includes fees paid to the planning companies as well as the rest of the project costs.
“It’ll help guide … the effective allocation of what will be millions of dollars in expenditures when doing capital projects,” Brady said.
She also said the consultation component of the CMP development is still in its early stages.
The last time the University updated the CMP was in 2002. The Plan stated that although West Campus will continue to be used for University functions, main campus should remain the dominant location for the “academic, cultural, social and recreational functions that make up the mainstream of university life.” The 2002 Plan outlines the physical disconnect that exists between the two campuses, and discouraged building new facilities on West Campus.
Now, challenges such as increasing enrolment and further space constraints on the University’s main campus are persisting, all of which will be addressed in the new CMP, Brady said.
“The campus probably looks like it’s full and there are not a lot of opportunities to build new buildings,” she said. “But there’s probably opportunities for greater intensification of the space — to be able to create additional space by increasing density.”
According to Brady, there are tentative plans to build a “teaching and learning” building over the next several years. The plan will determine its potential.
A building such as this, she said, would facilitate both lecture-driven “teaching” as well as small group-based learning. For example, lecture theatres would be tiered and would have moving chairs to facilitate the easy switch between lectures and small group discussions.
Currently, the new medical building on Arch St. and an area of Beamish-Munro Hall have similar arrangements, and this is something that the University is hoping to expand, Brady said.
In order to consult students and community members on ideas like this, Urban Strategies has visited Kingston twice for consultation meetings — once for an on-campus meeting and again for an off-campus meeting.
“The planners will be back in Kingston in March for consultation and there will be a student information exchange scheduled at that time,” Brady said.
A Campus Master Plan Advisory Committee has stemmed out of this development. The hope is to keep this committee active for years into the future to make sure that projects and developments follow the Plan.
Two students sit on the Committee: Tony Gkotsis to represent the Society of Graduate and Professional Students and Doug Johnson, the current AMS president.
Once Johnson’s term expires, next year’s president will step in.
“It’s going to be important for me to transition my successor, Eril [Berkok, president-elect,] quite well into this process,” Johnson, ArtSci ’12, said. “The rest of the people on the committee know what has been happening from day one.” Johnson said while he’s just a student voice on the committee, he appreciates that the work they do needs to focus on what students need.
“Everything in this master plan has to revolve around student life and student movement.”
Overall, Johnson said he’s been impressed with the work that Urban Strategies has put in to the redevelopment of the CMP.
The company has developed profiles on social media to connect to students and other community members. Johnson said the AMS hopes to direct students towards these profiles to encourage them to attend the town hall meeting in March.
“It’s much harder for [Urban Strategies] to start a Twitter account and start interacting with students … the AMS already has a presence built up,” he said. “Once we get back from Reading Week, we’re going to push it.”
Don Rogers, a Kingston resident and a part of the Save Our Neighbourhood Action Group (SONAG), said increased development in the West Campus area could be a positive step for the community.
“I think this fits into the matrix quite nicely,” Rogers said. “There’s a lot of land out on West Campus — it’s not really that far away and it would spread out the increasing enrolment.”
SONAG was created years ago after a group of Kingston residents decided to voice their concerns regarding student behaviour in the campus area.
Rogers, who has thus far attended one public meeting regarding the CMP, said he supports the University’s CMP initiative.
“Hopefully we can come out of this … with housing that students are happy with and cause a little less friction with surrounding neighbourhoods,” he said.
Also currently underway is the Library and Archive Master Plan (LAMP), which is being developed in association with, but separately from, the CMP due to the prominent and unique space issues both the libraries and Archives are facing.
Storage space for the Queen’s Archives, located in Kathleen-Ryan Hall, is already at capacity.
“We do have some [material] at an off-site location, right now at West Campus,” said Paul Banfield, Queen’s archivist.
Banfield hopes that eventually the collection will all be under one roof.
While the Archives primarily house the records of the University, they also serve as a regional archive for the Kingston area.
“We do need additional space,” he said.
The libraries on campus are facing similar space constraints, something that Chief Librarian Martha Whitehead said will be addressed in the LAMP.
“The user spaces are always totally full … it’s hard to find a seat to study or a group room when you need it,” she said.
Another concern for the libraries is collection space.
LAMP is using a different planning group than the CMP, called CS&P Architects. The timeline of this project is shorter, with a final plan expected this June.
The company has held a series of focus groups for students this term, Whitehead said.
“The main thing is they want more group rooms. It’s a big thing for students,” she said. “And the idea of study space … those are the two top priorities.”