By Natalie Sit
The University of Calgary isn’t planning to pave paradise and put up a parking lot, but they are planning to guide the university’s growth through the coming years.
"The intent is to have something that would enable us to guide the physical development [of the campus] over the next 25 years," said Barry Kowalsky, U of C Campus Community Plan Steering Committee Chairperson and Director of Campus Planning. "It’s a tool to keep what’s good and also to address the shortcomings we are presently facing."
Kowalsky believes the new Campus Community Plan will provide more and better green space and overall ease in movement. The plan will also see more retail spaces, study areas and gathering areas. It will encourage increased use of Calgary Transit as more buildings are linked to the University C-Train station.
"We’ll see the plan as a catalyst for a much richer, more diverse campus," said Kowalsky. "They will not just come here to use the library. They’ll use the library, go for a drink, go for dinner, or hang out, because [the university] is a neat place. The students are the focus of the university and the physical plan needs to reflect that in every way it can."
The name of the plan emphasizes the concept of a university community.
"By calling it a Campus Community Plan, it acknowledges the campus is itself a community," said Kowalsky. "It’s part of a large set of communities and it is, in turn, composed of a number of communities."
Consultation began eight months ago with various members of the campus and surrounding communities. The committee asked people to identify important issues and make recommendations concerning the west campus, such as the importance of green space and a physical connection between east and west campus.
According to Stu Reid, Executive Director of External Relations, many people support the Campus Community Plan and understand the need for it.
"They understand that the university has grown, will continue to grow and needs to grow in a fairly planned manner," said Reid.
The university had an original Campus Community Plan but it was deemed obsolete and a recommendation came from the Facilities, Services and Planning Committee to update it. The plan will go to the February Board of Governors meeting for approval.