February 6, 2013
Thank you for agreeing to serve on the university's master plan steering committee. Our task is an important one: to develop over the next 2 years, a master plan (Master Plan 2015) that will guide the university's campus planning for the next several decades. This is a complex undertaking, and structurally we will approach this through a steering committee and working groups focused on individual aspects of the campus and the plan. See details of the organizational structure.
First, some history on campus master plans at William & Mary. In 1987, W&M released a Master Plan that was the most comprehensive physical planning effort ever undertaken by the College for its Williamsburg campuses—both in terms of land area (all major properties owned by the university) and elements considered (open space, land use patterns, pedestrian movement, traffic, and parking). That plan was updated extensively in 2003 and design standards were established for the College's buildings, hardscape and landscape.
The 1987 plan established guiding principles which were reaffirmed in the 2002 update, namely:
- Maintain and reinforce a strong undergraduate focus by siting undergraduate academic, residences and recreational spaces together on the main campus.
- Hold undergraduate classes within walking distance, permitting a reasonable class schedule to be maintained.
- Maintain an architecture and standard that sets the climate through the College's buildings and landscaping that reflects historic traditions that exist on old campus.
- Retain the pedestrian character of the campus; move parking to the perimeter.
- Preserve open, green space.
- Create a sense of order, accessibility, ease of way-finding and attractiveness.
- Preserve the human scale.
- Meet growing space requirements and support 21st-century teaching and research methods.
Since 2002, the College has completed the construction or renovation of more than 1 million square feet of space, including separate facilities for the School of Business and the School of Education and significant additions to the Sciences. It has added some 350 bed spaces in new residence halls. It has also replaced and augmented the utility infrastructure that supplies heating and cooling to 28 buildings on the old and ancient campuses. It is now time to assess what has been accomplished and remains to be accomplished and set the path for the next 20 years of facilities construction and renovation.
Change is an integral part of the campus setting. The 2015 Master Plan is expected to build on and respect the traditions and character of the university while providing sufficient flexibility to accommodate changing program needs. The plan's strength must be a long-term vision with minimal dependence on specific structures or actions. The plan should reflect the dynamic nature of the College and the surrounding communities. Construction projects of the last decade have created a new campus dynamic--effectively bridging the "Old" and "New" campuses, but providing little support for visitor, pedestrian or vehicular traffic. Renovation of current structures underscores the continuing vitality of Old and Ancient Campuses. At the same time, the "New Campus" is no longer new and requires significant investment to support academic enterprises such as the Arts.
Much collateral planning has already been and continues to be done. Existing and on-going studies should inform elements of the master plan and be incorporated into the final document by reference or attachment. These studies include:
- Parking and Transportation Study (currently underway)
- Storm Water Master Plan (currently underway)
- Hazard Vulnerability and Mitigation/Security Assessment (currently underway)
- Accessibility Infrastructure (currently underway)
- 2003 Campus Design Guideline Report
- 2010 and 2012 College Land Use Reports
- Getty Sunken Garden Preservation Plan
The Campus Master Plan of 2015 will be a living document capable of responding to change while offering guidance for logical growth over the next 20 years.
The planning organization will consist of a steering committee co-chaired by the Provost and Vice President for Administration, nine working groups and a planning consultant. The steering committee provides guiding principles and parameters to the architects, responds to informational reports and alternative concepts, and makes final decisions about the master plan to be presented to the President and the Board for approval. The academic, administrative, residential, auxiliary and athletic working groups provide information about programmatic needs including amount and type of space needed or desired and preferred adjacencies or compatibilities. The architectural, utilities, land use and transportation working groups provide such information as guidelines, restrictions, capabilities and other needs to support the campus. Working groups may add members as needed. The architect will develop site concepts, adjacencies and facilities use recommendations.
Our goal is to present the completed Master Plan to the Board in the spring of 2015, thus enabling the development of the 2016-2022 Six-Year Capital Plan.
Again, thank you for participating in this important and exciting project. We will be calling the first meeting of the steering committee in late February or early March.
Michael R. Halleran, Provost
Anna B. Martin, Vice President for Administration