Master plan presentations draw crowds and comments

Jessica Leonard of Ayers Saint Gross discusses VCU's place among nearby neighborhoods.
<br>Photo...
Jessica Leonard of Ayers Saint Gross discusses VCU's place among nearby neighborhoods.
Photos by Kevin Morley, University Marketing

A series of public engagement sessions this week elicited valuable feedback and questions that will be used to inform the ongoing development of “ONE VCU,” Virginia Commonwealth University’s new master plan.

VCU held three sessions this week to present progress so far on the plan and to hear from students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members. The university is working with Ayers Saint Gross, an internationally recognized architectural, planning and design firm, to develop the plan with extensive input from the campus and Richmond communities. The VCU master site plan process began in October 2017 and is scheduled to conclude in December 2018 with adoption by the Board of Visitors.

ONE VCU will guide the evolution of VCU’s physical campus to support the university’s strategic goals, particularly those detailed in the university’s new strategic plan, Quest 2025: Together We Transform, and VCU Health’s strategic plan, Vision by Design.

Kevin Petersen of Ayers Saint Gross, an architectural, design and planning firm working with VCU on the development of a new master plan.
Kevin Petersen of Ayers Saint Gross, an architectural, design and planning firm working with VCU on the development of a new master plan.

“We are committed to a collaborative and inclusive process and these sessions were another important opportunity for the community to share ideas and offer feedback,” said Meredith Weiss, Ph.D., vice president for administration at VCU. “We encourage and value input and advice because together we will develop an exceptional road map to guide VCU’s physical development for the next decade.”

Previously, a series of informal input sessions in the fall attracted more than 400 participants. Meanwhile, those involved in the master planning process have met with groups and individuals to detail the progress of the plan and to receive detailed input.

This week’s sessions were held on both the MCV and Monroe Park campuses, and one session was livestreamed on Facebook for online viewers. Presenters included Jeff Eastman, university planner at VCU, and Kevin Petersen and Jessica Leonard of Ayers Saint Gross. Eastman, Petersen and Leonard shared the planning team’s analysis of current conditions and its takeaways from the feedback it has received.

The planning team noted that five themes and guiding principles have emerged from the process:

  • Student Success: Ensure student success and well-being through high-quality and appropriate teaching, learning, study and living spaces.
  • Program Synergies: Advance a culture of interdisciplinary collaboration by developing shared spaces that inspire community, partnerships, creativity and innovation.
  • Placemaking: Celebrate and enhance VCU’s unique urban setting and rich history.
  • Mobility and Safety: Promote a walkable, accessible, safe campus that is easy to navigate.
  • Unify the Campus: Strengthen the heart of each campus and the collective VCU identity through strategies that connect the campuses to each other and to the city of Richmond.
The planning team remains after a session to answer questions and receive feedback from audience members.
The planning team remains after a session to answer questions and receive feedback from audience members.

At the end of each session, audience members had time to ask questions and provide comments. Feedback covered a variety of topics, such as open spaces, parking and transportation, campus entrances, accessibility, density, and surrounding neighborhoods.

For more details about the master planning process and to submit feedback, visit masterplan.vcu.edu.

 

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