Weigh in on the future of campus at master plan forums

aerial view of CWRU campus with Cleveland in backgroundThe people charged to help Case Western Reserve envision its future are ready to report back to the campus.

No, master plan consultants Sasaki Associates won’t be offering recommendations just yet. But after six months of collecting information through surveys, conversations and even building-to-building assessments, they definitely have ample data to share. More to the point, they are eager to hear what the university community thinks about their conclusions so far.

The firm will present its findings and hear campus community feedback at two meetings Tuesday, Sept. 30 in the Toepfer Room of Adelbert Hall. The first session is from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., and the second is from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Sasaki will present the same information at each meeting, and then open the floor to questions and comments.

Those who want to learn more about the planning process can visit the new master plan website.

The master planning process aims to identify ways that that the physical campus can support Case Western Reserve’s strategic priorities. The university’s 2013-2018 strategic plan, Think Beyond the Possible, cites aspirations such as enhancing interdisciplinary efforts in teaching and research, increasing innovation in learning, and providing academic and extracurricular programs that prepare students for leadership. How might physical campus improvements advance those goals? Identifying new ways to design or redesign classroom and laboratory spaces, for example. Or suggesting new interior arrangements of residence halls to promote greater student interaction and sense of community. Or even recommending faculty office layouts that include ample communal space for conversation and collaboration.

These subjects are more than academic—they form the foundation for concrete plans Case Western Reserve can pursue in both the near- and long-term future. The university completed its last master plan in 2005, and in the years since opened its first Alumni House, supported the development of the residential-and-retail space known as Uptown and, last month, dedicated the Tinkham Veale University Center. All three projects represent recommendations of the 2005 plan.

Sasaki, a Massachusetts-based firm with extensive experience in higher education, emerged as the first choice for the engagement after an extensive proposal and interview process that involved a committee of trustees, faculty, staff and students.

Next Tuesday the campus community will find out what Sasaki has learned to date, as well as the next steps of the process. The feedback the firm receives Tuesday will help shape the way the coming months of the process unfold.

In addition to learning more about the planning process, members of the community also can offer comments on the master plan website, located at case.edu/masterplan.