Missouri Western is developing a master plan to better the campus and is looking for students’ help.
Ann Pearce, special assistant to the president, said it is time for a comprehensive master plan since one has not been completed since the campus moved to its current location.
“The master plan is really a strategic plan for the physical campus. As we move forward and grow, it’s time to look at all of those things,” Pearce said. “We’re looking at the facilities themselves and what condition they are in, but we are also looking at how they are used and how the space within each building is used.”
Shana Meyer, vice president for student affairs, said that one of the ways data will be accumulated for the plan is through a student ethnography project.
An ethnography is defined as “the study and systematic recording of human cultures.” According to Meyer, this ethnography would include students taking pictures of things on campus, such as things students like, don’t like and things they believe need improvement throughout the campus. Student Governor Lionel Attawia said some students will be given cameras to take pictures of the different things on campus, but students who don’t necessarily have the cameras could use social media to communicate how they feel about different elements of the campus.
Attawia also said maps will be used to help create a strong understanding of students’ lives at Western. He said the maps will come into the master plan project by having students map out a day in their lives. Students will be asked to mark paths they take, places they spend the most time at and what buildings they use most frequently.
Attawia said that in the current phase of the master plan, the goal is to understand patterns of different students on campus.
“Basically, we want to understand the pattern of a residential student on a Monday – what does that look like? What does a Monday look like for a commuter? When do they go where and how long do they stay there?” Attawia explained.
Student Government Association President Daniel Hager, a member of the master plan steering committee, said that students are also encouraged to give feedback by contacting himself, Meyer, or Attawia so the input can be passed along to the master planning team.
“With more feedback from the students, I have full confidence that the master plan will utilize our resources and expand the spaces we enjoy most,” Hager said.
The team scheduled three campus forums where students will be asked for input about the master plan. These forums will be on Wednesdays throughout the semester: one last week, one on Nov. 5 at 3:15 p.m. in the Spratt Hall 214-216 and one on Dec. 3 at 3:15 p.m. in Spratt 101.
Pearce said she and the rest of the administration are really hoping for a lot of student input.
“That’s what we are here for – we’re here for students. We would love to have them participate,” Pearce said.
Attawia agreed that student feedback is important to creating a well-developed plan.
“Student feedback is absolutely essential,” Attwaia said. “They need to hear straight from students what they feel about certain decisions that are in the process of being made, what they feel about certain aspects of the university that maybe administrators may not see… The master planners aren’t just interested in student feedback – they are kind of counting on it.”
Clark | Huesemann, a company out of Lawrence, Kan., has been hired to create the master plan for Western. Steve Clark and Jane Huesemann are the members of the Clark | Huesemann team. Both are members of the American Institute of Architects and are accredited professionals at the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Building Design and Construction level.
Clark said that he and Huesemann have had a good experience working on the project so far.
“Everyone we’ve met, from the administrators, faculty, staff and students have been very willing to spend their time enabling us to arrive at a deep understanding of the physical campus and how it is used, as well as gaining an understanding and appreciation of the campus culture and life,” Clark said.
Hager has enjoyed working with the team.
“Steve and Jane have been very helpful so far,” Hager said.
Hager also said that although the committee is creating a ten-year plan, we should be seeing changes and improvements as early as this semester.