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What is a Campus Master Plan and what can it do for RRC?

March 21, 2013

Newly designed learning space for Culinary Arts students at the Patterson GlobalFoods Institute

What makes a great campus?  For some, a great campus is defined by the quality of the learning spaces – including the way the space is designed, the availability of learning technology, and the overall functionality of the space.  For others, the quality of one’s workspace is key, as many people want (need) a safe and ergonomically designed environment, with sufficient spaces to interact with others and/or to work without distraction.
Of course there are many other components that contribute to a great campus environment, ranging from the spaces where we support students, to campus services like cafeterias, retail spaces, and parking lots.  Internal and external public spaces also come into play, from the ability to meet and interact in hallways or to gather in other social spaces with students or colleagues.  At some campuses, the green spaces outside are also vitally important, as is the connection to the local community of shops, businesses, and industry.
The Campus Master Plan
The “document” that helps a college plan tasks like designing quality learning and workspaces, creating new buildings, making the campus easy to navigate, planning for transportation services, and attending to the greenspaces is called a Campus Master Plan. The consultation process that led to the development of the current Strategic Plan (2012-2015) recognized campus planning as a vital task for addressing these issues, and as a result, identified it as a strategic action.

The “atrium” at the Roblin Centre – Exchange District Campus (EDC)

As noted above, a Campus Master Plan needs to consider many things. It needs to take into account the communities and neighborhoods that surround the College, the transportation systems that serve the College, the infrastructure (for example, water and electrical), the landscape, how the buildings are located, the likely growth of the College, how the College community interacts, and where new buildings should go. It also needs to consider sustainability issues – social, economic, and environmental – in the use of materials and design of spaces.  This is continuing with the tradition set in the design of other recent RRC buildings such as HETC and the Patterson GlobalFoods Institute. The theme of diversity and community are also important, as the College spaces need to appeal to a very diverse student body who literally make the campus their “home” while they are studying.

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