The goal of the campus master plan is to keep green spaces open and accessible.

(Editor's Note: The following story was featured in the Winter edition of Bucknell Magazine.) 

LEWISBURG, Pa. -- The campus master plan, supported by renowned, Boston-based architectural firm Shepley Bulfinch, is now moving toward the stage at which the Board of Trustees, during their upcoming April meeting, will review final recommendations and decide on immediate priorities.

"The Board has spent many good hours discussing the possibilities of this campus master plan," said Trustee John Mathias ’69, chair of the building and grounds committee. "We all feel a deep responsibility to Bucknell and its storied history to create a framework that works now and long into the future."

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To this, Jamey Bennett ’90, chair of the campus master planning subcommittee, added, “Getting The Plan for Bucknell right depends on getting the learning and living agenda right. It’s crucial that the campus master plan and The Plan for Bucknell work in harmony with one another.”

Philosophical framework
The philosophical framework for the campus master plan springs directly from the University’s strategic plan.

The Plan makes the academic mission the University’s first priority; the campus master plan builds literally and figuratively from that focus to suggest that a new academic quadrangle could branch southward from Bertrand Library. The Plan seeks to enhance the residential living experience; the campus master plan has sketched out new student housing that could add flexible living and learning opportunities.

The Plan embraces building bridges locally, nationally, and globally; the campus master plan not only proposes neighborhood development with downtown Lewisburg, but also partnerships with private developers as well as state and federal governments.

Under consideration
Additional ideas under consideration include:
  • Moving the Route 15 campus entrance 100 yards northward to create a more attractive and safer entry.
  • Creating a scenic greenway around the campus with several points of entrance, including Route 15, Seventh Street, and River Road.
  • Connecting to the river for teaching, research, and recreational programs on a wholly expanded level, including a river walk, landing areas for kayaks, and jogging trails.

Other suggestions: a wellness center, a University inn and conference center, a welcome center, a shared University Village for campus and local communities, and a regional arts center.

These and other ideas will be discussed across the campus and beyond as 18 months of planning and deliberation become final recommendations to the Board.

David Surgala, vice president for finance and administration, defined the goal: "We intend to establish an overarching, flexible land use framework that will serve the University for many decades just as the Larson Plan has.”

Architect Jens Larson
In 1932, acclaimed architect Jens Larson developed Bucknell’s first campus master plan, which emphasized the library and academic quadrangle and open spaces, and which remains the guiding force for the campus of today, and tomorrow. The new master plan takes its lead from Larson’s plan, which also embraced the campus’ natural topography, while creating enough flexibility to allow developments that would fit future needs.

And those needsare changing. In the last 20 years, the campus maintained its enrollment, while adding one million square feet. It is likely the campus will add another million square feet in the next 20 years.

Such initiatives would improve and expand existing facilities and grounds as the University raises its national profile and the quality of its teaching and research programs.

Building and funding
President Brian C. Mitchell said that once the Board approves the emerging priorities, building will begin within the next three years, depending on funding.

“We’ve gotten tremendous feedback from the campus and local communities,” he said. “We plan to maintain the beauty of the campus, be a good neighbor to Lewisburg, and support living and learning at the highest level.”

Contact: Office of Communications

Posted Feb. 12, 2008

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