By Alyssa Hughes and Danielle Chaloux

UConn’s Master Planning project will lay out the next 20 years.

The document, designed to be a fluid and evolving guideline has entered the last stages of development. Thursday’s Town Hall Meeting was designed to offer the public a chance to voice their opinions before a planned Board of Trustees meeting at the end of February.

“We really wanted the Master Plan to set a platform for long-term, responsible stewardship,” said Director of University Planning Beverly Wood.

Throughout the meeting, Wood explained how past suggestions have been incorporated into the current draft of the plan.

Wood said this last town hall meeting was just one of the many town meetings the committee has held since the Master Plan project started last spring. The Town of Mansfield, as well as a number of committees including faculty, staff and students from the university were involved in order to incorporate all parties. Wood expects follow-up studies at project-level planning will continue to work with the campus to refine the Master Plan. One of the main focal points is the importance of laying a strong foundation for the future of the institution.

“Those of us are here are only here for a very short time in the institution’s history. Even if you’re here for 20 or 30 years.”

Part of this project involves the Torrey Life Sciences Building, which will eventually be demolished.

One student representative from UConnPIRG said he wanted to make sure the Master Plan reflects the interests of students. Those interests include solar energy, and the all important question of parking.

The Plan takes a varied approach, and ultimately aims to reduce the need for personal cars on campus by increasing initiatives such as bike lanes, bike and car sharing, and better connectivity to the public transit networks.

“Overall we’re going to be adding 2,000 parking spaces,” Wood said.

Big changes are in store for UCONN, as the university adapts to the modern day and works to incorporate NextGenCT funding. With an eye on STEM education and working with the current campus, the Master Plan will provide a guideline.

“It’s not just a one-time document that sits on a shelf.”

Photo credit: UCONN (for Steph) via photopin (license)

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