Campus changes in the works

Credit: Courtesy of Carnegie Mellon Campus Design and Facility Management Credit: Courtesy of Carnegie Mellon Campus Design and Facility Management

While this year’s incoming first-years are just becoming familiar with Carnegie Mellon’s current campus, the university administration is looking toward future development with the implementation of its new 10-year master plan.

The plan, which acts as a guide for future campus development, was made public in March after more than a year of planning by the Campus Design and Facility Development office.

All of the potential projects included in the plan, regardless of how varied, are focused on achieving a single goal: growth.

“The master plan is aimed at supporting university growth by both enhancing the existing core campus and by developing underutilized properties purchased by Carnegie Mellon along Forbes between Craig Street and Morewood Avenue,” Bob Reppe, Carnegie Mellon’s director of design, said in a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article last year.
The previous master plan, formed in 2002, included developments such as the now-completed Gates Hillman Complex. Each master plan builds upon the last one to continue the university administration’s long-term goal of improving the campus.

According to last year’s master plan report, “Building on the momentum of the last master plan, we can continue to make this a truly great campus, one that is equal to the national and international reputation of Carnegie Mellon.”

However, fulfilling this vision depends on the approval of community members and the city, as well as the availability of funding. The current master plan has already been discussed at length with community members, as last year’s announcement was preceded by months of meetings with neighborhood organizations and community groups who could be affected by the potential projects. Last April also marked the first in a series of campus-wide meetings attended by students, staff, and faculty. The plan was set to be reviewed by both the Pittsburgh city planning commission and city council, while sections of the plan regarding Forbes Avenue within campus would need to be reviewed by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, as Forbes Avenue is a state road.

When the master plan was made public in March, Associate Vice Provost for Campus Design and Facility Development Ralph Horgan anticipated the approval process to take about six months.

“You have to be pretty thoughtful to do this,” Horgan told Pop City Media in early March. “Hopefully in July we’ll have the approved master plan, so that if we want to do something and the funding is there, we can do it.” The funding, as Horgan pointed out, is one of the main obstacles to a series of projects that will likely cost the university tens of millions of dollars.

Once approved, students can expect to see changes to campus taking place as early as this academic year. Outside lanes on each side of Forbes are set to be replaced with bike lanes, aimed at making commutes to and from the university safer and easier, as well as to “embrace Forbes as the main street of campus,” Reppe told The Tartan last year.

Other proposed changes to the face of campus include moving the Tepper School of Business from the Graduate School of Industrial Administration building and Posner Hall to a section of what is now the Morewood parking lot. This, however, is not the only new building to be expected. A new nano-biomedical energy research facility has been proposed to move into the space between Wean and Hamerschlag Halls, while a new building for administration and alumni relations staff may be housed on a section of Forbes currently occupied by fraternity houses.

Hamberg Hall, the University Center, and Margaret Morrison Carnegie Hall may also be transformed, with expansions proposed for all three facilities.

Other projects mentioned in the plan include an extension of campus walkways between Forbes and Fifth Avenues and the construction of a campus-based hotel near Craig Street, to be operated by an outside party.