IAN WARD ’19 | ONLINE AND PHOTO EDITOR • After numerous campus events and planning ses- sions, the Wabash College Master Plan is progressing. At this point, some areas of the plan are solidify- ing, while others are quite fluid in nature. This is due to the mere fact that this plan is not only looking at physical spaces on campus right now, but what our needs will be in the future.
The plan focuses on a plethora of campus amenities, including campus life, improving access to student services, supporting on-campus housing communities, organizing campus administration locations, and pursuing growth of the campus on nearby land parcels.
But what does this really mean?
This means that the master plan group (Sasaki and Associates) is looking from the outside in to see that we as a campus have areas for possible improvement across the board.
For example, if Wabash College were to expand out on land that it currently owns, what could be built on Harry Freedman Place and fit within the campus overall? Wabash is unique in that its mall is the center of campus, meaning that we need to make sure that in the future, campus life is centered in clear common areas across the campus.
This plan is still in development, however, several things have been determined regarding what our campus could look like in the future.
The Lilly Library will remain but will take on new life through some sort
of renovation that will re-energize and create new student spaces in the center of our campus. This renovation is not set in size or scope, rather it is more set upon the premise that there will be physical changes to the Library in the future to continue to help center student experiences.
Another idea that has been set is that a student dining/life space will be constructed where the Frank Hugh Sparks Center is currently located. Whether or not this means taking a phased approach – keeping the Sparks Center and phasing in new and renovated spaces – or clearing the site completely and starting from scratch remains to be seen.
According to Kendra Cooks, Chief Financial Officer of the College, “Our Students and Staff were very clear that we want the new facility on the current site.”
Even though there is not a set scope of what the project could be, Sasaki is willing to create a master plan around whatever pathway the college eventually chooses.
Another topic of heavy discussion is what to do regarding campus parking and how to address current conditions, as well as how to adequately plan for the future with the hope of reaching 1,000 students at Wabash College. Regardless of the specific direction chosen by the College, the eventual completed plan will have a section devoted to Parking Operations.
One last part of the Master Plan surrounds the infrastructure of the College at large. This part of the project was completed by R.E. Diamond and concerns electrical, HVAC, plumbing and mechanical systems across campus, with the goal of creating a list of needs and possible needs of the future surrounding our colleges
infrastructure. This report is crucial to the master planning process as with possible structural changes in the future, there needs to be accompanying infrastructure
to support such changes.
But what will we see soon?
The master plan is a comprehensive plan not for tomorrow but for years to come. Although there may not be immediate changes tomorrow, rest assured that in the future, there will be extensive changes to the campus of Wabash College.