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Comments sought on MSU master plan draft

January 20, 2011

Editor’s note: This is the first in series of stories analyzing components of the proposed draft of the Mississippi State University master campus plan. Other stories will follow over the next several days.

By BRIAN HAWKINS
sdneditor@bellsouth.net

Mississippi State state campus planning officials have posted a draft version of the proposed campus master plan on the university’s website for public review.
The plan — the result of a year-long process — summarizes design and planning recommendations for the MSU campus with the goal of guiding decision-making for years to come.
A .PDF file may be viewed or downloaded from the MSU website at http://planning.msstate.edu/plan under the heading “Work Session No. 6 MSU Master Plan-Draft.”
Addressing facility, environmental, mobility, infrastructure and quality of life needs on campus from a strategic viewpoint, the plan was developed to serve as the foundation document for the newly formed Office of Campus Planning at MSU, providing a framework for meeting those needs and leveraging resources appropriately, according to the plan draft posted online. The plan was developed with the ability to be adjusted “to the changing circumstances of the university,” the written draft states. The plan is based upon what its authors described as “five strategic opportunities” for MSU:
• Enhancing the academic and research environment in support of the university’s mission.
• Protecting the history and traditions of the campus while linking them to broad range of improvements.
• Promoting an ethic of stewardship and sustainability, informed by social, environmental and economic goals.
• Improving campus and community life, including addressing needs for more gathering, study and dining space across campus, as well as incorporating new residential “communities” and recreation amenities into the campus-wide landscape.
• Fostering connectivity and cooperation with the community, including coordinating of transportation, storm water management, land use and economic development objectives to benefit MSU and Starkville.
Development of the new master plan begin in February 2010 under the guidance of the 15-member Master Planning Development and Advisory Committee, involving representatives from the university and broader community in three phases:
• Phase I, Inventory and Analysis — This phase included interviews with university stakeholders to determine the “desired outcomes, principles, goals and objectives for the master plan.”
This phase included investigating existing conditions on campus and the surrounding community, as well as research into campus planning history.
• Phase II, Concept Alternatives — This phase examined the “most favorable and acceptable options for near-term and long-term campus development ...,” including land use, landscape character, circulation, parking, program accommodation and overall l campus integration.
• Phase III, Master Plan Documentation — This phase “focused on the detailed development and documentation of the master plan ...,” recording the findings of the process and developing a guide for “decision-making and the incremental implementation of the master plan.”
This phase prioritized immediate and long-term strategies, identifying specific target projects to be implemented.

The next installment will focus on various goals for the MSU campus identified in the master plan and begin looking at specific elements being proposed.

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