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Q: What precipitated the development of a Facilities Master Plan?
A: The College experienced several successful building projects through the 1990s and in the first decade of the 2000s. We had four residence facilities (Carol International House, Grotnes Hall, Barron Hall and Spradley Hall), a science building (Lassiter Hall), an addition of an archives structure and expansion of Thomason Library, complete renovation of a downtown facility to house the School of Pharmacy, as well as renovations to Springs Campus Center, Thomason Library and surface renovations to two residence halls. However, there has been no significant facility work since the renovation for the School of Pharmacy. The Board of Trustees and the President determined an evaluation of our campus needs and facilities should be done in order to plan for the next major facilities work that would be done in order to continue to enhance and facilitate excellence in teaching and learning.
Q. How was the Facilities Master Plan developed?
A. The College contracted with Brailsford & Dunlavey, a nationally-acclaimed master facility planning firm, and tasked them with coordinating the process to present a Facilities Master Plan which would provide the College with an integrated framework to guide its long-range physical development over the next eight to 10 years. The architectural firm of Watson Tate Savory also assisted in the plan development process. Over the course of several months, the consulting firm spent many hours interviewing and surveying students, faculty, staff and alumni to create a vision and strategy for facilities that would support and enhance living and learning experiences. Utilizing their extensive knowledge of national trends, peer institutional information, data, as well as what they gathered related specifically to PC’s needs, B&D developed a master facility plan for the College that would carry us through the next ten years. The plan was presented to various groups on campus, as well as Trustees, for feedback and refinement.
Q. When and how was the Facilities Master Plan approved?
A. At its meeting on February 28, 2014, the Board of Trustees unanimously adopted the plan developed by Brailsford & Dunlavey and recommended by the President and the officers of the College.
Q. What are the components of the plan?
A. The plan focuses on the “flow” of campus—the “heart of the campus” if you will. It addresses where most students and faculty spend their time. The initial phase of the plan will focus on an extensive renovation and addition to our historic Neville Hall which accommodates a third of the classes offered. The main rotunda will be opened up to its original design; additional classroom and faculty office space will be added to the rear of the building. In order to preserve the significance of the view down the West Plaza, the addition will not be visible looking toward the front of Neville. The other initial focus will be a new apartment-style housing facility for senior students. In review of our housing facilities, B&D demonstrated that the types of housing we currently offer our students are not in line with national trends and our peer institutions. The apartments will be built on East Maple Street.
Other components include renovation of Richardson Hall, another highly-utilized academic facility that supports the sciences; an expansion of Springs Campus Center in order to provide more gathering spaces for students; renovations of several residence halls; creating a green space/pedestrian friendly space along East Maple Street; renovations to baseball and softball facilities; repurposing of Reynolds and Laurens Halls; and renovation of Douglas House.
Q. How will the plan be implemented?
A. Facilities Master Plan such as this one is an organic plan. It provides a roadmap for the types of facilities and improvements we need to best serve our students in their living and learning and our faculty in their teaching. Given the information that was gathered through the extensive data-based evaluation completed by B&D, this plan is what the Board believes is the right plan for PC now and through the immediate future. Planning is taking place to develop the fund-raising efforts that will be needed to make this plan a reality. We will continue to engage students, parents, faculty, staff and alumni as we process through the implementation of the plan.
Q. What are the next steps?
A. While developing the fund raising plan, the College will share the Facilities Master Plan with all of its constituents through various means—alumni events, social media, web site information, small group meetings, campus visits, etc. We are excited about this plan and what it means for our students and faculty and staff. We want to share that excitement with all who want to and need to know more about it. Over the next year, the President and his staff will be on the road visiting our alumni, parents and friends in various venues throughout the country to share the plan. The College will also begin to work intentionally with architects on plans for the various pieces of the Plan.
Q. How was the original architectural plan for the campus structures and layout taken into consideration during the development of this plan?
A. The importance of our current architectural design and campus linear structure was important in the development of this plan. Any new structures or additions will be in keeping with our historic Georgian architectural style. The renovation and addition plan for Neville Hall is being reviewed by a nationally-acclaimed historic architect. The plan focuses on the “flow” of campus—where students and faculty spend most of their time. Most of the movement on campus is in the center section—Neville, Richardson, Thomason Library, Lassiter, and Springs Campus Center. The paths of movement and additions in that area will enhance students’ and faculty’s experiences.
Q. What are the plans for Doyle Hall?
A. During the facilities planning study, all facilities on the campus were reviewed and evaluated on the basis of a number of factors. This process included thorough consideration of Doyle Hall. The consultants concluded that given the location, size and condition of Doyle, it should be removed. They determined that – although Doyle had a function for the College once – there is no efficient, appropriate and cost-effective use for Doyle, now or in the future. Doyle occupies and obstructs a key area related to the flow of campus. It is not architecturally significant, and it will not serve a useful purpose on a modern college campus. The College will explore ways to commemorate Doyle recognizing its past uses on the PC campus. But given PC’s finite resources and our need for state-of-the-art facilities, retaining Doyle does not make sense.
Q. What are the plans, if any, for Smyth Hall?
A. Over time, we will be addressing some of Smyth’s deferred maintenance needs, but it will not be renovated or repurposed under this 8-10 year plan. It will remain a residence hall for our students.