In 2001, 12 fifth-year architecture students spent a semester studying the new campus master plan. Then they developed what they felt was a better alternative, although it was not accepted or used in the official plan.
Their main criticism of the official plan was that it focused too much on classroom and office space at the expense of living and social space. In recent years large numbers of upperclassmen, frustrated with the restrictiveness of dorm life, have been moving to houses and apartments off-campus. Despite this, the residence halls remain filled to capacity and three new dorms are on the drawing board to relieve overcrowding.
Senior administrators asked about the architecture students’ plan said they were not very familiar with it. But James Lyphout, vice president of business operations, said a consultant’s report due this fall is expected to address the flight of upperclassmen off-campus. He said the report is likely to suggest that alternative living spaces be created within the dorms. These rooms would be, in effect, reserved for upperclassmen because of the traditional room-picks pecking order. Seniors-to-be get first choice, followed by juniors and sophomores. (Incoming freshmen get no choice; they’re assigned to rooms by computer.)
The architecture students’ plan would make apartments available to both upperclassmen and faculty in a community-oriented complex at the southwest corner of campus. The complex would consist of commercial, retail and office space—even a corner grocery store—with apartments above the businesses. Completing the area would be a new arts quad and park with a wetland area, a banquet hall for indoor and outdoor dances and live music, and a larger facility for the Snite Museum of Art.
A gated entrance on Dorr Road would lead to new dormitories, a theater-and-communications building and a hotel.