Visioning is the point in the campus planning process where participants are able to think broadly about the future of the University and its relationship to its neighbors, the University District, and the larger Little Rock metropolitan region. The campus visioning process occurred through a series of workshops, culminating in a Chancellor’s Leadership Group visioning charrette held on May 13, 2004. The resulting vision statement is the distillation of ideas and aspirations for UALR generated in the workshops and supported by detailed discussion with the UALR Board of Visitors and over 30 interviews with faculty, administrators, staff, students, and alumni. It reflects UALR’s commitment, as a metropolitan university, to serve the region. The complete 2004 Campus Master Plan Update Vision Statement is printed as a separate document and is excerpted below.
Campus Vision Statement
Looking ahead a decade…
UALR is a vital urban campus—the educational and cultural hub of a thriving University District. Expanded on-campus housing and a rich array of in- and outdoor gathering places promote social interaction and a strong sense of community on campus. UALR is an active and visible presence in the community, manifest through its myriad programs. Well-defined entrances into campus, the orientation of buildings to the street, a mix of uses responsive to the neighborhoods, cohesive architecture, and a lush, green park-like setting all serve to welcome the community into the campus. Emblematic of the University’s vitality and commitment to the metropolitan area and region are the restoration and enhancement of Coleman Creek, which serves as the centerpiece of the campus and major recreational and natural a resource to the community.
The vision is structured around seven themes:
- A vibrant on-campus community
- Strong connections to the University District and larger metropolitan community
- A physical environment that supports learning and uses resources wisely
- Coleman Creek as the focal point of campus
- Cohesive architecture and a park-like landscape
- Clear circulation and access
- Land acquisition in support of UALR’s mission and district revitalization
Land Use Development Framework
The land use development framework (Figure III-5) provides a 3-phased strategy over a 10-year period for achieving a vital UALR campus that supports the University’s mission, fosters community, and contributes to the revitalization of the surrounding University District. The framework—which evolved from the exploration of alternative land use concepts—is an intermediate step between the campus vision and urban design plan. In both the short-and long term, the framework is intended to accomplish the following:
- Establish logical land use adjacencies.
- Make the highest and best use of existing and potential UALR properties.
- Strengthen the sense of community both on and off campus.
To activate the campus at all times of the day, the framework locates academic uses on both sides of Coleman Creek. It proposes expanding the core academic campus south to Asher Avenue and establishes a new east campus academic village. Similarly, it identifies several locations for housing, offering variety and flexibility, and extending the vitality of a residential community throughout a broad area of the campus. The location of faculty, staff, and graduate and family student housing north of 28th Street and east of Coleman Creek serves as a bridge between the campus and neighborhood.
UALR is committed to working in partnership with the Greek organizations to establish a site for a Greek “hub” that will accommodate lodges and other future facility needs and contribute to a vibrant campus community. Pending the outcome of a feasibility study conducted by PriceWaterhouseCooper due in summer of 2005 and the work of the Greek Life Task Force due in spring 2006, a suitable site will be selected that best meets the needs of the Greek organizations and the campus. UALR has worked with associated campus faith-based organizations to identify an ideal location directly east of the residential village along Fair Park Boulevard that will afford both the campus and neighborhood communities access to these vital resources.
The land use framework identifies the need for UALR to make significant land acquisition to meet its long-term needs and better secure and influence its immediate surroundings. A major part of this strategy is the acquisition of all non-UALR-owned properties within its planning boundary—the 272 acres bounded by West 20th/24th streets to the north, Fillmore Street/Fair Park Boulevard to the east, Asher Avenue to the south, and South University Avenue to the west (see Figure III-5). Of particular importance is the Methodist Children’s Home property in the northern portion of the planning area, for which the Board of Trustees purchased the right of first refusal. Also of interest are the properties south of Asher Avenue between the recreation and athletic fields and Mabelvale Pike. Acquisition of this land would allow for expansion of recreation and athletics facilities and support services and ensure stewardship of Coleman Creek.