The audience at a workshop on the Campus Master Plan used round green and red stickers and notes labeled “Like,” “Dislike” and “Improve” to express their opinions about the university’s places and spaces. And based on the number of stickers and notes on the large maps of campus, they had a lot to say.
The introductory session on Sept. 18 followed up on President Soraya M. Coley’s Fall Conference speech delivered in the morning that cited the crucial role of the next Campus Master Plan to “align classroom space with current and future needs” and support the Academic Master Plan.
Administrators, deans, faculty, staff and students attended the first in a series of campus workshops and forums that will gather input from university stakeholders and offer details and insight about the campus to advance the master planning process.
“We’re all here to begin to think about the future of Cal Poly Pomona,” said Walter Marquez, the associate vice president of Facilities Planning & Management. “Not so much what’s going on today, but the benefits of a campus master plan.”
When the next master plan is adopted, Facilities Planning & Management will be tasked to carry out the objectives that involve the campus infrastructure.
Ayers Saint Gross, an architectural firm founded in 1912 that specializes in working with colleges and universities on campus planning, was hired by Cal Poly Pomona to lead the master planning effort. The current Campus Master Plan was adopted in 2000.
“It’s important to understand that if a master plan provides only one answer, looking deep into the future, it’s pretty hard to make sure that it always works,” Jack Black, principal at Ayers Saint Gross, told attendees. “We use a scenario-based approach, so that after working through it, the master plan provides options about how to deal with the future.”
The official master planning process is scheduled to begin in mid-October with a status update to the president and Cabinet followed by a workshop with the Master Plan Advisory Committee and focus sessions on key topics. The master planning process can take up to two years to complete.
The master planning team from Ayers Saint Gross, which is based in Arizona, will visit the campus on a regular basis. A typical day may include a walking tour of campus with students, interviews with various stakeholders, topic-specific focus sessions, open forums that may be live-streamed, charrette sketch sessions, and evening “listening sessions” with community members to hear their viewpoints and concerns.
All master plan sessions will be open to students, faculty, staff and members of the community. Communications about the master plan will be maintained on a webpage and may include social media posts and student surveys.
Carolyn Krall, the project manager for the master plan, said that the active planning work will take place throughout the academic year. A draft of the master plan should be completed in fall 2018 for consideration by university leadership, she said.
Krall said that the existing Campus Master Plan would be used as a foundation and that information collected in 2012 for a revised master plan also will be mined for pertinent data.
“It’s a good chance to really look back between 2000 and now and ask, ‘What’s different about the mission?’ ” Krall said. “That master plan tells us a lot about where you were and where you are now and informs where you are going. We try to build on the previous planning, carrying planning concepts forward.”
The master planning team will examine all aspects of the university, including use of space, sustainability, accessibility, traffic, enrollment, topography, infrastructure systems, campus safety, transit, landscaping, community engagement and facilities. The analysis is research-based and may include examining data from peer universities and precedents established at other institutions.
“Every master plan is unique,” Black said. “Cal Poly Pomona is a very unique institution with very unique land assets and specialized educational programs. When you put all of that together in this context and in this region, you have very unusual circumstances in the master plan, and how you process all this will be unique.”