Campus planning process continues

As a new semester begins at UND, the university is continuing its process of developing a master plan for the future development of the campus.

The master planning process stems from a directive from the State Board of Higher Education that each of the 11 universities in the North Dakota University System produce a plan for future capital projects and financial requests.

According to UND’s website, the master plan being developed is only part of the comprehensive campus planning process, and this phase will focus on the short-term needs for academic space at the university.

A forum was held on Dec. 11 at which UND outlined three proposals that are being considered as part of the future plan on campus.

A brief outline of each strategy is available for review and comment on UND’s website.

Strategy A would involve moving administrative offices into the current School of Medicine and moving some program elements to Twamley and other “Campus Core” buildings.

Strategy B would focus on repurposing the current School of Medicine and combining program elements into that building. It would require the lowest amount of movement of designated building space.

Strategy C would replace the Witmer Hall and link O’Kelly and Gillette halls. It would focus on creating interdisciplinary space that could accommodate contemporary teaching methods.

All three of the strategies have varying degrees of projected maintenance savings and gross square feet available to repurpose for future use. While these three strategies have been put forward, they are not final and are subject to change as the master planning process continues.

An analysis of UND campus showed that there is a $270 million backlog of deferred maintenance costs, with approximately $45 million of these costs being considered critical.

Under the current campus plan, $450 million would be needed for repairs on campus over the next ten years. The master planning process and implementation will allow the university to save money on maintenance and utility costs over this time period.

When completed, the master planning process will provide a long term plan for campus, but this initial phase will focus on the academic areas of campus.

Going forward, the university will work to address other components of campus, including research buildings, infrastructure and other auxiliary buildings.

The UND campus master planning process will be continuing with an open forum for faculty and staff planned  at 3 p.m. on Jan. 13 at the Memorial Union Lecture Bowl. Dave Chakraborty, the Associate Vice President for Facilities Management at UND, will give a presentation on the three potential options for the future of UND’s campus.

The first phase of the master planning process will be completed by the university and submitted to the SBHE by Feb. 15, 2016.

Those who are interested in providing their opinion on the planning process are encouraged to attend the upcoming forum or comment online by Jan. 31.

Sean Cleary is the editor-in-chief of The Dakota Student. He can be reached at [email protected]