Master plan update entering final stages

Dec 13th, 2012 | By | Category: 2012, Campus News, Dec. 13, Issue

Taking information gathered through online feedback and campus open house sessions, two new frameworks for the UNL Campus and Landscape Master Plans have been developed.

The frameworks, presented and crafted by representatives of Sasaki Associates, provide direction for the final push to craft the campus and landscape master plans.

“In both the City and East campus frameworks, you get a real sense for the direction and how things will be developed,” said Brie Henshold, a senior associate with Sasaki. “While we have that direction, not everything is fixed yet.”

The City Campus framework is a hybrid of three concepts presented in October. The crossroads concept — which would create primary pathways through campus — is the primary focus for City Campus.

“The crossroads concept is the most urban option and will help reach beyond campus boundaries, engaging downtown, Nebraska Innovation Campus, east toward Textron and growth areas in the Haymarket and the arena,” said Henshold. “Fourteenth Street will have the most character, helping move people through campus.”

The City Campus framework also includes closing Vine Street from 16th Street west to Memorial Stadium. The idea creates a distinct walking mall and civic space that leads from 16th Street, toward the stadium and past the new College of Business Administration Building (proposed at the corner of 14th and Vine streets).

“We believe that area could be transformed into a really special place,” said Henshold.

The 14th Street corridor, from R to Vine streets would also be open to shuttle buses as well as foot traffic.

Henshold said the framework outlines X Street as important for City Campus’ stormwater management. The plan also presents different ideas for space around Love Library North.

“One idea is to rethink the lower level of Love Library North, make it less about books and convert it into an open and active study hub,” Henshold said. “That would mean opening the building up more and possibly adding things like a coffee shop.”

Cather and Donaldson gardens might also change under the proposed framework. Henshold said the area could be reshaped to open up for informal play or outdoor classrooms or developed into academic building sites.

“There has been some strong support for the building site concept,” said Henshold.

The East Campus framework also includes a focus on crossroads and a rethinking of the loop road to improve traffic circulation.

“We’ve talked about what parts of the loop road that could be abandoned and what parts need to be retained,” said Henshold. “We’ve compromised on the initial idea to create an east-west crossroad. Now we’re looking to create a framework with a central spine where you continue to enter on Holdrege Street.”

She said the new framework concept operates closer to a standard grid system, with new north and south connectors.

“We really have been focused on how to increase circulation on East Campus,” Henshold said.

Other parts of the framework include converting the drainage corridor into a more attractive feature; upgrading the importance of the quad by the East Union; crafting a shuttle route that makes stops at the redesigned quad; and transforming the parking area northeast of the East Campus mall into green space.

Sasaki continues to seek feedback on the framework plans through the website.

The next open house sessions are in January and will include more specific details and visuals about the master plans ideas. The dates of the open house sessions will be announced through Today@UNL.

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