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Campus Master Planning and Approval

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Introduction (Back to Top)

Campus master planning is a comprehensive and collaborative process for gathering, collecting, analyzing, synthesizing, and documenting requirements to acquire, develop, or improve land, a campus, or a campus precinct through a long‐range plan. The resulting Campus Master Plan (CMP) should balance and harmonize all affected elements to support the strategic and academic mission of the institution and the growth required in enrollment, programs, and facility support.

A CMP can require considerable time and financial resources to complete. Institutions should plan for the necessary time commitment and budget appropriate funds to cover the cost of the CMP and periodic updates.

The CMP should be consistent with, and firmly rooted in, the institution’s strategic plan and should include direct support for the institution’s approved mission. It should also address land‐use and infrastructure needs which may be beyond the institution’s strategic plan. The CMP should align proposed development and/or acquisitions with anticipated funding, including a focus on philanthropy and other external funding opportunities. Philanthropy should be coordinated with The University of Texas System (U. T. System) Office of External Relations, Communications and Advancement Services.

There should be a relationship between the projects that are identified in the CMP and those projects submitted for inclusion in the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board Capital Expenditure Plan (MP1) and the U. T. System Capital Improvement Program (CIP). Longer range planning should involve review with the   U. T. System Offices of Finance, Budget and Planning, and Business Affairs (BA).

Benefits of a Campus Master Plan (Back to Top)

A campus master plan:

  • Develops consensus on sound guiding principles while balancing the visionary with the realistic
  • Allows the institution to direct its growth so that every dollar spent improving the physical campus supports the campus mission
  • Is responsive to existing internal and external influences and anticipates mid and long‐term impacts
  • Facilitates collaboration and communication that has a positive impact on the strategic forces that dictate the vision and mission of the institution
  • Identifies funding strategies, philanthropic opportunities, planning, and demographic parameters that inform future development decisions
  • Is comprehensive and serves a specific purpose
  • Is flexible to meet changing academic and planning demands

The Planning Process (Back to Top))

These guidelines are a tool to assist in preparation of a CMP that requires internal approval at the institution level, review and collaboration with U. T. System Administration Executive Vice Chancellors and Chancellor, with subsequent submission to the U. T. System Board of Regents (Board). The Board expects that in most cases the institutions will employ outside consultants to assist them in preparing the CMP. The U. T. System Office of Capital Projects (OCP) is also available to assist the institutions through each step of the CMP process.

As each institution is unique, these guidelines cannot be applied equally across all U. T. System institutions. The guidelines are intended to complement each institution’s knowledge and chosen approach that produces a document that provides a specific and achievable roadmap to campus growth, and this guide is available to promote a consistent format and similar types of information in the plans.

Campus Master Plan Timeframe  (Back to Top)

The institution should determine the useful life of the document prior to beginning the CMP process. A reasonable period for most CMPs is a 10 to 20-year planning horizon, but the institution should decide what is appropriate based on its knowledge of campus requirements and the findings of the institution’s strategic plan, longer range business plan, and academic, research, or health care mission.

Campus Master Plan Updates (Back to Top)

The plan should include recommendations for the frequency at which it might be updated or major events that might trigger an update. Examples include:

  • A significant change in institution leadership
  • A significant change in institution mission/direction
  • A major physical addition to the campus or a new satellite campus
  • A major change that is inconsistent with the currently approved CMP

Institutions should continue to coordinate with U. T. System Offices of Academic Affairs (AA) and/or Health Affairs (HA), as well as OCP, on a five to 10-year schedule for updates.

Campus Master Plan Content (Back to Top)

The following includes topics that are the template for creating a U. T. System institution CMP. It is possible that not all topics are germane to each institution and/or campus; however, it does represent information included in CMPs. Emphasis should be placed on the key elements that drive the growth of the campus, whether that is growth in student population, patient care, or research activities.

1.    Background Information

1.1.  Executive Summary 
The executive summary should present the essence of the CMP.

1.2.    Introduction
Provide a brief explanation of what went into developing the CMP.

1.3.    Institution/Campus History
Consider including a brief history of the institution and campus, including previously completed CMPs.

1.4.    Guiding Principles
Provide guiding principles and develop a set of measurable goals and objectives based on the institution’s strategic plan.

1.5.    Campus Character, Special Attributes, and Places
Describe elements that contribute to the unique aspects of the institution and campus including culturally, historically, or architecturally significant areas or items. Consider addressing open space and landscaping preferences.

1.6.    Residence Life and Campus Housing
Describe current campus life facilities and how they support student enrollment, student retention, and residence life.

1.7.    Sustainability/Resource Management
Describe the university’s strategy related to sustainability and the relationship of the university’s sustainability plan to the CMP.
 

2.    Programmatic Planning

2.1.    Academic/Research/Healthcare
Consider providing academic programmatic data to address undergraduate, graduate, and doctorate space requirements. State any projected changes or advances in instruction, demand, or academic programs. Address the role of academic, research and/or healthcare planning and delivery in the institution.
 
2.2.    Demographics
Consider providing demographic data for current campus population and any anticipated demographic changes proposed or needed to meet projected enrollment or changes in human volume.
 
2.3.    Enrollment Projections
Consider projecting future enrollment over the life of the CMP including existing and new majors for undergraduate, graduate, Ph.D. and post‐doctoral. Address changes that may affect retention and any changes in key ratios, such as student‐to‐faculty, faculty to class size, distance learning, and support (i.e., housing) etc.
 
2.4.    Space Projection Model
Consider addressing how to accommodate space needs growth related to innovative programs or initiatives (academic, research, and/or health) while utilizing existing facilities and improving functionality and efficiency.
 
2.5.    Classroom and Lab Utilization
Consider quantifying utilization targets when projecting the demand for space, and addressing the amount of time classrooms and labs should be used each day and whether to change the target utilization.
 
2.6.    Non‐Academic Facilities Planning
Consider providing facility information for non‐academic, quasi‐academic auxiliary, and support facilities including wellness, recreation, athletics, performing arts, student support facilities (student center and student services), parking garages, equipment and storage buildings, central thermal plants, maintenance warehouses, and athletic out‐buildings.

2.7.    Future Land Acquisitions
Consider whether any of the foregoing data indicates the need for future land acquisitions and, if so, whether there are opportunities for future acquisitions in appropriate locations.
 

3.    Connectivity and Linkages

3.1.    Campus Boundary (Physical)
Consider providing information about changes to campus boundaries including potential acquisitions and disposition of owned property to promote a definitive campus edge that facilitates a strong sense of arrival.

3.2.    Campus Edge, Relationships, and Community Connectivity
Consider describing how adjacent community and business relationships affect the future of the university and how the local community can help the university to achieve its goals.

3.3.    Transportation Interface
Consider providing information describing the transportation systems (motorized and non‐motorized vehicles, public and private transit, and parking) including existing roads, transit, buses, shuttles, and bipedal means that provide access to and from the campus. Consider including any proposed improvements to public and university‐provided transit service and facilities.
 

4.    Infrastructure Considerations

4.1.    Provision and Condition
Consider including utility and technology infrastructure information including acquisition, continuing service and expansion, and maintenance for all services. Consider defining current state of repair, life‐cycle status, capital renewal issues, and reliability. Consider providing any additional quantity needs, quality of service issues, practical limitations, and alternate methods of service or capacity, with long‐term build‐out in mind.

4.2.    Planning and Coordination/Efficiency and Conservation
Consider developing a coordination document with proposed building areas and utility corridors including main distribution or collection lines, major features and equipment, easements, and right‐of‐way. Consider discussing energy conservation measures.
 

5.    Architectural Design Guidelines

5.1.    Architectural Attributes
Consider defining architectural attributes and values that reflect the campus heritage including significant architecture, special settings or places, and historic features.

5.2.    New Construction, Renovations, and Additions
Determine to what degree any new building, renovation or addition will comply with the Architectural Design Guidelines for the campus.

5.3.    Building Composition
Consider providing specific guidelines for new buildings or additions that address building height, setbacks, massing, building spacing and dimensional separations, density, and building footprint types. Consider providing specific guidelines for windows and openings, vertical composition, special instances for entrances, and building accessories.

5.4.    Materiality
Consider defining any special material requirements including roofs, exterior walls, doors, and windows and whether there is a predominant or specific building exterior material (product or application) to be used throughout the campus.

5.5.    Way Finding and Campus Signage
Consider developing an overall plan for directional and building signage including locations, types, and attachment support and connections.

5.6.    Exterior Criteria
Consider pedestrian interface, landscaping / green space, gathering areas, site furniture (i.e. benches, trash receptacles, bicycle racks, bulletin boards, and electronic kiosks) and hardscape items (sign systems, paving materials, art, memorials, and lighting components) should be considered on a campus‐wide basis and encompass the aesthetic and functional context in which individual projects will be developed.

5.7.    Screening
Provide considerations for aesthetics, accessibility by heavy trucks, safety, and security, for loading docks, dumpsters, and outdoor equipment. These may apply to enclosures for courtyards and small storage buildings as well.

5.8.    Security and Risk Mitigation
Consider providing security and risk mitigation principles and address the physical provisions for safety and security through coordination with other campus entities if no campus‐wide security plan exists.
 

6.    Implementation Considerations

6.1.    Existing (Current) Campus Plan
If a current CMP exists, it could be used to determine what is correct and useful and what should be changed.

6.2.    Full Build‐out of Proposed Facilities
Consider providing contextual documentation representing land utilization and density of the full build‐out of the campus.

6.3.    Implementation Plan or Phasing Action Plan
Consider whether the campus wants to provide an implementation timeline to show an order or prioritization of proposed facility build‐out and whether phasing plans will be provided.

6.4.    Longevity
Consideration of long-term maintenance and operations costs.

6.5.    Cost Estimates
Consider whether the institution is willing to provide conceptual cost estimates for any build‐out for the CMP, either by phase, priority or building type. Cost estimates are unreliable at the campus planning phase since buildings are undefined and construction market conditions can vary significantly.
 

7.    Appendices

The Appendices may include any documents or exhibits that are referenced or used as a part of the CMP. Examples include any environmental studies, traffic or parking studies, demographic information, space utilization information, facility condition assessments, and any other relevant information provided to U.T. System or the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.
 

Preparation and Submission to the U. T. System Board of Regents (Back to Top)

The last step in the CMP process is submission to the Board. This step requires that certain administrative activities be completed and that a collaborative review process be conducted with U. T. System executive officers leading up to the submission of the CMP to the Board.

The following activities are required to occur prior to CMP submission to the Board.

  1. Development of the CMP requires a collaborative process with the U. T. System Executive Vice Chancellor (EVC) -AA and/or EVC-HA. Institution presidents and EVCs shall sign off on the CMP prior to submission to other executives for review.
     
  2. The institution shall distribute copies of the completed CMP for review, with one copy to each of the following U. T. System executives:
    • Chancellor
    • EVC-AA and/or EVC-HA
    • EVC-BA
    • Associate Vice Chancellor of Finance (AVC-Finance)
    • Assistant Vice Chancellor of Capital Projects (AVC-OCP)
    • Executive Director of Real Estate (ED-REO)
       
  3. If required by the EVC-AA and/or EVC-HA, the institution’s representative will present the CMP to interested parties, including the Chancellor, EVC-AA and/or EVC-HA, EVC‐BA, AVC-Finance, AVC-OCP, and ED‐REO.

    The EVC-AA or EVC-HA’s office will coordinate the presentation with the institution and other attendees. Additional institution representatives at the presentation should include, as a minimum, the Chief Business Officer, and the campus planning officer. The presentation should include an overview of the planning process undertaken and the major findings of the plan with a period for questions.

    Following the presentation, the institution will refine the CMP based on feedback, if necessary, and re‐submit the final electronic version to the same distribution list as previously noted.
     
  4. The final CMP will be presented for approval to the Board via the Academic Affairs Committee or Health Affairs Committee. Institutions will want to keep Board meeting deadlines in mind when navigating through the above preparation steps for submission to the Board.

 

Resources for Creating and Updating a Campus Master Plan