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Regents give unanimous support to FHSU's revised Master Plan

9/20/2013

Special to The Hays Daily News

The Kansas Board of Regents gave unanimous approval during its monthly two-day meeting this week to a new Master Plan submitted by Fort Hays State University.

The plan will help FHSU accommodate its continuing growth in enrollment and includes new space for faculty offices and student housing while retaining the distinct appearance of the campus.

"A lot of hard work took place on campus last year to develop this revised plan," said Edward H. Hammond, FHSU president. "Faculty, staff and students provided input."

The previous Master Plan was created more than 20 years ago, and it included a designated space for just one more building.

"It was gratifying to see the regents embrace a product that resulted from so much effort, and to see them approve it enthusiastically and unanimously," Hammond said. "The new Master Plan positions Fort Hays State for another successful 25 years."

FHSU plans to build and improve upon one of its primary assets: a quintessential college campus of historic limestone buildings set within a tree-covered landscape unique to the central plains setting. The architectural firm of Gould Evans began work on the update in June 2012 and made numerous trips to Hays to gather information.

The revised Master Plan considers five distinct areas of the FHSU campus: the Quad, the South Academic Precinct, the West Academic Precinct, the West Campus and the South Residential Precinct. Each has unique qualities to feature and a role to play in the unification of the overall campus.

Highlights include:

* On the Quad, Davis Hall is out of place with its low-slung, mid-century elementary school appearance and is recommended for replacement with a new academic building and future expansion of the Memorial Union. Rarick Hall is in need of interior renovations. The Old Power Plant is recommended for renovation and use as an academic building or art gallery.

* Through the years the academic center of campus has expanded southward across South Campus Drive to include the South Academic Precinct. To improve pedestrian safety and to better connect the academic buildings in the South Precinct to the Quad, South Campus Drive between College and Lyman Drive is recommended for closure and replacement with a pedestrian-only mall. Construction of the new Center for Networked Learning will allow removal of the Center for Media Studies, which was the old Heather Hall.

* The facilities services complex and the President's Residence are located west of the Quad in the West Academic Precinct. Both may eventually be relocated to allow a better use of this centrally located area of campus. Removal of the facilities complex would allow for expansion of the parking areas west of the Memorial Union.

* The West Campus, with a main entrance onto Gustad Drive from the Highway 183 Bypass, includes Gross Coliseum, Cunningham Hall and the more recently constructed Robbins Center. The 60 acres north of Gustad Drive have been identified as the site for new student housing. It will also accommodate future housing beyond the initial 400-bed community. Other recommended improvements include an addition to Cunningham Hall and a site for a new childcare facility, relocating the Tiger Tots facility from Rarick Hall.

* The South Residential Precinct is already well established as a residential precinct, with Custer Hall, McMindes Hall, Stadium Place, Wooster Place, the new Agnew Hall and the new Heather Hall. A future residence hall is recommended on the current Wiest site to take advantage of the dining capacity available in the McMindes dining facility.

The entire plan is available online:

www.fhsu.edu/president/Campus-Master-Plan