Campus master plan to map out future of facilities

During his campus address in September, interim President Howard Cohen identified a plan to address six focus areas he deemed crucial to the college’s future. Cohen called these the “Six Priorities,” which he will oversee this year while Buffalo State searches for its next president. This is the fifth story of six that will run in The Record to elaborate on the President’s plans as they come to fruition.

An updated campus master plan will soon map out the near future of facilities at SUNY Buffalo State. It will focus on the southwest quadrant, as charged by interim President Howard Cohen, and will aim to create a second main entrance on Grant Street.

Mike LeVine, vice president in finance and management, along with the rest of his department, is responsible for the development of the campus master plan. LeVine works closely with Sara Reid, a facilities planner on campus who helped design the original plan.

Reid said that the original plan was for campus growth between 2013 and 2023.

“It involved all sorts of things from studying enrollment, updating for future growth, and looking at the conditions of all the facilities on campus,” Reid said.

Now the plan will be updated to bring a focus to the southwest quadrant, and will continue to focus on moving the entire campus forward.

“The idea is … how do we develop that corner of the campus so that people will see that as a front door like Elmwood,” Cohen said. “Right now it’s kind of treated like the back door.”

Cohen said that people coming off the Scajaquada through the Grant Street side of campus don’t see it as the front of campus. He said that because of Rockwell Hall and the Burchfield Penney being located on Elmwood Avenue, it feels like the front of campus.

Cohen said that if the Grant Street side of campus were more developed with an alumni center or visitor’s center, it could be a place for new students and people who have never been on campus before to start their Buffalo State experience. The Elmwood side doesn’t have much parking, but Grant Street has a spacious area for a second campus entrance.

“Then you could direct people to come in over (at a new building) instead of having them come in and hunt for a space, and start at Moot Hall,” Cohen said.

There is a facilities master plan that is currently in the process of being updated. According to Reid, the original plan was finished in fall of 2011. Cohen said that the current plan is relatively silent about the southwest quadrant of campus.

“What we’re doing is supplementing (the facilities master plan) with some concepts about, when we have the funding and when we can demonstrate the need, what would go where,” Cohen said

Possibilities that will be considered include more student housing, or a visitor’s center.

LeVine said that departments have been consulted about the need to update the plan like the college council facilities committee and the foundations housing board.

“Now we’re in the process of taking that input and trying to figure out what we can do,” LeVine said. “So we’re really not at a point where we are recommending anything yet.

The campus master plan will require many conversations between administration, facultyand staff to determine many different possibilities. Certain plans will be contingent on enrollment, and financial goals.

“Given what the campus is supposed to do and be, and given its strategic goal, and given its projected enrollment, how much housing should there be?” Cohen said. “Do we need a place for alumni to gather? (The campus master plan) tries to answer those questions.”

The strategic plan and the campus master plan are very closely related. Cohen said if the institution sets a goal to be a certain size and type, then it would have to determine what needs to be done to make that possible.

“I think (a second entrance) would help expand the relationships between the campus and the community,” Cohen said. “I think we would be a more welcoming place”


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