Planning for Higher Education Journal

Successful Master Planning

Journal Cover
From Volume 19 Number 4 | Summer 1991
By James T. Biehle

Many colleges and universities have a series of master plans. However, "few institutions use their master plan when they renovate or build," resulting in haphazard campus design. A master plan "lays out the direction, physical needs, and overall appearances," of an institution over the next 15 to 20 years. It includes a land use plan; location and type of architecture; renovation plans; a landscape concept; a plan for the movement and placement of people and vehicles; property development; and plan for utilities. The master plan costs from $30,000 to more than $100,000. It takes from four months to a year to complete. Three factors are essential to successful master planning: (1) Doing homework on the strategic issues that university officials must address for the future. This should be done before the master planner arrives. (2) Involvment in the master plan's design, location, and style. (3) Choice of a master planner who understands the needs of campus long-range planning. If these three elements of a successful master plan are followed, it can produce a cohesive, pleasing environment for faculty, students, visitors, and alumni to appreciate.

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