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Last modified: Friday, September 21, 2007

IU President McRobbie calls for university master plan

Plan would guide future construction and development at IUB and IUPUI


Michael McRobbie

Michael McRobbie

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BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University President Michael A. McRobbie today (Sept. 21) announced that he is initiating a process that will lead to the development of a new master plan for the university's two largest campuses -- Bloomington and Indianapolis.

The plan, which McRobbie intends to have in place by December 2008, will serve as a guide and template for all future construction and development on the two campuses.

"In coming years, we will face many decisions with respect to construction of new facilities, and renovation and repurposing of existing structures," McRobbie said. "It is critical that we have a well-thought out master plan to guide us."

McRobbie noted that a single plan integrating the needs of the two campuses will enable the university to maximize collaborative possibilities and minimize duplicative efforts.

"The planning process will include a close liaison with the cities of Bloomington and Indianapolis, especially with respect to development possibilities on the peripheries of our campuses," McRobbie said.

As a first step, McRobbie asked Terry Clapacs, vice president for administration, to draft a description of what IU expects of a master planner. It would then be submitted to architectural firms with experience in developing master plans for large institutions and universities. Interested firms would submit proposals to a 17-member university master-planning committee chaired by McRobbie.

The firm selected would then have approximately 12 months to complete the planning process.

"This is an ambitious schedule, but it is evident that we will need such a plan to help us make decisions on our future building priorities, as well as giving us a rationale for the siting of specific buildings," McRobbie said.

Three years ago, a study commissioned by McRobbie when he was vice president for research, identified the need for five million square feet of new research space at IUB and IUPUI over the next two decades.

McRobbie said this potential shortfall of floor space is the single biggest impediment to the university's goal of reaching its full potential as a major research center.

"The shortfall is even larger when one takes into account the need for new and renovated classroom space, and contemporary student accommodations," McRobbie said.

In preparation for the study, Bloomington Provost Karen Hanson and IUPUI Chancellor Charles Bantz will re-activate space-planning task forces at their campuses. The task forces, which had initially been established by McRobbie three years ago, will verify and update their earlier estimates of needs for instructional, residential, administrative and athletic space. These studies are to be completed in time for them to be used as a starting point for the master planning process.