In this issue of Plymouth Magazine, we are introducing the new master plan for Plymouth State University. Many of you will recall reading about the last master plan and will be familiar with the accomplishments made since it was developed more than 10 years ago. We are proud of our achievements resulting from the previous master plan and look forward to the work presented in the new plan.
With the development of the new master plan and formal approval by the USNH Trustees, we celebrate the conclusion of one remarkable and valuable process and the beginning of another. The plan’s development was thoughtful, inclusive and exhaustive, and the resulting document represents our collective efforts at their finest. It will serve as the framework for our short- and long-term decision making over the next 10 to 20 years.
Fulfilling the objectives of our master plan will require the same attention and collective effort from both campus and community that went into developing the final document. It is much more than a schedule of needs, goals and projects. It is our evaluation of priorities, our reflection on mission, and our expectations for our current and future role as a regional university.
A good master plan, and ours is a model, allows us to expend precious resources on those projects that best serve our mission. It does not commit us to a rigid schedule of construction and renovation, but has built-in flexibility to allow us to redirect our efforts if necessary as we adapt to economic fluctuations and strive to meet changing needs of our students and the citizens of New Hampshire. It enables us to keep our priorities in perspective as we adjust to the changes and demands of our environment.
In the framework of the plan are many opportunities for Plymouth State. We’ll be able to develop a more cohesive architectural image that will enhance our visual identity, both as a university campus and as a part of the Plymouth community. The master plan calls for the addition of 196,000 square feet of residential construction and 650 beds, which will allow us to house more of our traditional undergraduate students on campus and provide them with more opportunities to participate in campus life. We also believe that many of the issues related to off-campus private housing can be greatly reduced. I am pleased to announce that work is scheduled to begin this spring on a 350-bed residential facility on the north side of campus, with completion scheduled for 2006. Funding for this facility will be through the issuance of bonds that will be supported by student fees.
The next project on the drawing board is the renovation of the PE Center. This facility was constructed in 1969. It is no longer adequate for athletic or physical education programs and is in serious need of re-design and repair. The master plan calls for the construction of a new swimming pool, the addition of an ice rink, and construction of classroom and laboratory space for the health, physical education and recreation department, and renovation of the current structure. We anticipate that this project will be funded with a combination of state appropriation, bonds and private funds.
Through rededication and renovation of selected spaces across campus, both residential and commuting students will see an increase in the kinds of social and academic interaction that are so important to their university experience. The master planning process has been and will continue to be an opportunity for PSU to collaborate with the towns of Plymouth and Holderness, to alter past dynamics and devise initiatives for further collaboration.
If you haven’t already seen the finished master plan, I encourage you to look through it. It will have significant positive impact on our students and all of us who are a part of PSU for many years to come. The document is available online at www.plymouth.edu/finman/mplan/mplanindex.htm.
Donald P. Wharton, President
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