The development recommendations outlined in the campus master plan update are based on a 10-year planning horizon, from 2005 through 2015. Over that time period, UALR’s potential for facility expansion is substantial as the University presses forward in fulfilling its strategic vision as a “higher education powerhouse,” whose impact extends beyond the region and state.
To achieve the University’s strategic vision, the plan identifies a capacity of approximately 2 million gross square feet of new instructional, research, and support facilities; 1.8 million gross square feet of new structured parking; and .8 million gross square feet of additional student, faculty, and staff housing. The proposed level of facility expansion was not formulated to meet specified space needs and/or enrollment projections for 2015, but rather it resulted from a capacity analysis of the 272-acre planning area.
For UALR to achieve all of the plan’s recommendations within a 10-year period, the University will need to adopt a comprehensive implementation strategy that outlines specific sequencing of development projects, establishes consistent building and site design guidelines, and provides a clear system for project management and coordination. The following section outlines implementation actions that, if adopted, would enable the University to achieve the campus master plan update recommendations.
Campus aerial perspective
Cost Estimates for Buildings, Site Improvements, and Infrastructure
The master plan update’s extended time frame and its phased implementation make the preparation of precise cost estimates for future development and improvements impractical. However, it is possible to project an order-ofmagnitude range of costs based on current UALR and regional market construction costs. As a result, the following estimates are relevant only for a limited time and should be periodically reexamined to conform to the regional marketplace.
Academic and Support Facilities
The urban design plan for the campus suggests a total build-out of approximately 2,570,600 gross square feet (GSF) of classroom, lab, office, and support space. At a cost of between $190 and $300 per gross square foot (includes 30 percent contingency/30 percent design/1 percent administration), the recommended amount of new space would cost from $488,414,000 to $771,180,000. Assuming site development cost equals 5 percent of building cost, associated site improvements would require an additional $24,207,000 to $38,559,000. Using current cost data, the combined new building space and site work would range from $512,621,000 to $809,738,000.
Over the 10-year planning period, the urban design plan recommends the development of approximately 886,986 GSF of student, faculty, and staff housing. At a cost of between $180 and $225 per gross square foot (includes 30 percent contingency/30 percent design/1 percent administration), the housing would cost between $159,657,480 and $199,571,850, with 5 percent associated site improvements for a total of $167,640,354 to $209,550,442.
By 2015, the plan recommends the development of six new parking decks totaling approximately 1,800,000 GSF, which will provide +/- 5,500 new and/ or replacement parking spaces. At a cost of between $8,500 and $9,500 per parking space, estimated parking costs are $46,750,000 to $49,500,000.
The urban design plan’s open space recommendations encompass a broad range of landscapes, from the Coleman Creek Greenway to the numerous plazas, quadrangles, and gardens located throughout the campus. Overall, open space comprises approximately 90 acres (33 percent of campus), with the proposed Coleman Creek Greenway occupying 47 acres, or 52 percent of all campus green space. While some landscape improvements will be easy and inexpensive to implement, others will be complex and more expensive.
Development costs will result from the combined expense of required demolition, utility relocation, land acquisition, reconstruction, hydrological features, planting, and facilities for human activity. The range of costs for open space development is estimated at between $100,000 and $500,000 per acre. The cost for improvements to a large portion of the Coleman Creek Greenway— from West 28th Street to Asher Avenue—is expected to fall within the higher range, due to extensive hydrological and land reconstruction, and permitting issues. The overall open space improvement costs should be viewed from the perspective of creating an integrated campus environment that dramatically improves the campus-life experience and provides significant recreational, scenic, and symbolic benefits.
UALR will continue to pursue the planning and development of campus infrastructure required to serve the additional facility needs identified in the campus master plan update. Cost estimates for those improvements can be calculated as new utility needs are identified. The University has explored the development of a new co-generation power plant, which, if implemented, is estimated to cost approximately $5.2 million.
Recent new facility development has begun to transform the UALR campus. Examples of newer facilities are the Science Laboratories Building, Donaghey Student Center, Donald W. Reynolds Center for Business and Economic Development, and the Bailey Center. The newest addition to the campus is the Stephens Center, which is currently in construction on university land located north of West 28th Street.
Looking to the future, all of the master plan’s recommended campus developments are expected to occur within a 3-phased framework, with each project and its associated site preparation scheduled within a specific phase. The three phases are not meant to represent exact time periods, but rather a sequence of actions that need to occur before subsequent development can begin. For example, the master plan suggests that the existing physical plant, power station, and associated service areas be demolished in Phase 1 to allow for development in Phase 2 of new academic and support facilities on that site. If the University determines that new academic and support facilities at that location are not an immediate priority, demolition could be postponed to a later phase.
Similarly, the master plan calls for construction of signature UALR buildings on the University Plaza site in Phase 3. However, if funding becomes available earlier through a public-private partnership, construction could begin in Phase 1, in lieu of interim renovation of the big-box structure, as planned. Such a move would accelerate revitalization of the district and signal UALR’s commitment to the larger metropolitan community.
As illustrated by the preceding examples, the phasing framework should be used by the University as a flexible guide, with periodic reevaluation to assure that the scheduled actions continue to meet its needs. The following is an outline of the actions that should be undertaken in each phase to realize fully the urban design plan. Each phase is divided into three key areas of focus—buildings, circulation, and open space.
Phase 1 establishes the context and structural framework within which all future campus development can occur. To that end, recommended actions in this phase are focused on expanding the developable area of the campus through property acquisitions, and preparing sites for extensive facility expansion and open space improvements proposed in subsequent phases. As a result, recommendations for new facilities, circulation, and parking are limited in scope.
The major actions proposed in Phase 1 that will increase the developable area of the campus are:
- Expansion of the University’s planning boundary to include the Methodist Children’s Home property.
- UALR’s acquisition of all properties within its planning boundary and subsequent demolition of buildings on those acquired sites.
- Removal of existing UALR facilities that:
- Do not house/serve a university function.
- Are determined to be inefficient and/or too costly to renovate.
Nine new buildings, one existing facility addition, and the renovation of three existing structures are proposed in Phase 1 (see Figure IV: 1-1).
B-2 Student commons
B-3 Parking deck (within Lot #12)
B-4 Student residences (2)
B-5 Physical plant
B-6 Power plant
B-7 Track and field facility
B-8 Academic building
Renovations and additions
B-9 Stabler Hall
B-10 Residence hall entrance
B-11 University Plaza: big-box structure
B-12 Addition to University Theater
B-13 University Plaza: east property structures
B-14 Student Union
B-15 Education Building
B-16 Larson Hall
B-17 Central Utility
B-18 Physical plant
B-19 University Services/Speech
B-20 University Plaza: outbuildings
The recommendations in Phase 1 are focused on initial implementation of pedestrian safety measures to existing campus circulation systems, augmented by modest changes to roadways, walkways, and parking. The following circulation actions are recommended in Phase 1 (see Figure IV: 1-2).
C-1 Closure of Campus Drive to create a pedestrian corridor (University Drive to 32nd Street)
C-2 Reconfiguration of Taylor Street into a limited-access corridor (West 30th to West 32nd streets)
C-3 Reconfigured parking and service access to CyberCollege and associated parking at Lot #8
C-4 New entrance to Residence Hall off Fair Park Boulevard
C-5 Relocation of University Drive bus stop to allow for development of pedestrian connection to University Plaza
C-6 Expansion of Lot #15 parking capacity
C-7 Reconfiguration of Lot #12 to accommodate new deck
C-8 Removal of Lot #3
C-9 University Avenue Improvements (by City of Little Rock with UALR oversight)
C-10 West 28th Street reconfigured into a boulevard with a median (University Avenue to Fair Park Boulevard)
C-11 Reconfigured service access to Donaghey Student Center
C-12 Reconfiguration of Lot #1
C-13 Creating connections from core campus to University Plaza
C-14 Enhancement of College Walk with connections to CyberCollege
C-15 Developing closed section of Campus Drive as a pedestrian corridor
C-16 Sidewalk improvements as part of reconfigured Taylor Street
C-17 Redesign of ADA access to the Donald W. Reynolds Center for Business and Economic Development
C-18 New Student Union/Donaghey Student Center Plaza
C-19 Expanded sidewalks along new West 28th Street boulevard.
The following are the actions recommended in Phase I (see Figure IV:1-3)
OS-1 Edge improvements along University Avenue and University Plaza property with UALR’s signature fence, fixtures, and plantings (West 20th Street to Asher Avenue)
OS-2 New recreation/athletic complex south of Asher
OS-3 Enhancements at new student residences
OS-4 Restoration and landscape enhancements to Coleman Creek Greenway (west side of creek, between West 32nd Street and Asher Avenue)
OS-5 Signature landscape improvements to College Walk (University Drive to CyberCollege)
OS-6 New landscape associated with CyberCollege
OS-7 UALR streetscape along new West 28th Boulevard
OS-8 Landscape improvements to the historic and Cooper Fountain Plaza quadrangles
OS-9 Landscape improvements to the new Student Union/Donaghey Student Center Plaza
OS-10 Education garden/outdoor classroom
OS-11 Landscape improvements to surface parking areas
OS-12 Extension of campus fence and landscaping along Fair Park Boulevard (at UALR property)
With the acquisition of all properties within the UALR planning boundary and the removal of all buildings designated for demolition, the second phase of the master plan update focuses on the major campus elements that will transform the UALR campus-life experience.
Key developments in Phase 2 are:
- Construction of new academic and support facilities that expand the academic core
- Completion of restoration of Coleman Creek and its associated greenway
- Expansion of campus residential opportunities for students, faculty, and staff
Forty new buildings (24 of which are specialty housing), one addition, and the renovation of two existing structures are proposed in Phase 2 (see Figure IV: 21).
B-1 Phase 2 of the residential village (four structures)
B-2 University Drive parking deck
B-3 University Drive signature portal building (academic core bridge)
B-4 Library expansion/parking deck
B-5 Completion of academic core bridge (five buildings)
B-6 Academic building between CyberCollege and Donald W. Reynolds Center for Business and Economic Development
B-7 Relocation of six tennis courts to area west of the Athletic Field House
B-8 Faculty commons
B-9 Specialty housing: 150 dwelling units in townhouses (bounded by West 28th, Fillmore, Taylor, West 24th, and West 27th)
B-10 Specialty housing: 70 dwelling units in townhouses (former Methodist Children’s Home property)
Building Renovations and Additions
B-11 Renovation of North/South Administration Building: additions to the northern portion and a new entrance at the southern end
B-13 Renovation of Fribourgh Hall
B-14 Demolition of Physics and Earth Sciences buildings
B-15 Demolition of the University Plaza big-box structure
B-16 Removal of existing tennis courts (three courts at the Athletic Field House and three by Lot #2)
B-17 Relocation of chancellor’s residence
The second phase begins transforming campus circulation patterns with the reconfiguration of major access roadways, a new network of interconnected pedestrian pathways, and the removal of the numerous small surface parking lots located thoughout the core campus. The following are the circulation recommendations proposed in Phase 2 (see Figure IV: 2-2).
C-1 Reconfiguration of University Drive into a new formal loop-drive entrance
C-2 Development of Coleman Creek Drive (formerly Campus Drive) as a new south campus entrance boulevard that terminates at the academic core bridge with a circulation loop
C-3 Removal of parking Lots #5, 4, 6, 7, 2 and the metered lot
C-4 Reconfiguration of West Campus Drive into the new Campus Drive that terminates at the proposed University Green
C-5 Establishment of a system of “neighborhood” streets for the new Faculty Commons and 70-unit specialty housing village (on the former Methodist Children’s Home property)
C-6 Extension of West 20th Street west to University Avenue
C-7 Removal of parking Lots #11 and 9
C-8 Reconfiguration of parking adjacent to CyberCollege to accommodate only ADA and special visitors: +/- 10–15 spaces
C-9 Coleman Creek Greenway path system linked to the campus core and residential areas
C-10 Extension of College Walk to the new University Drive entrance building
C-11 Broad sidewalks along the new Campus Boulevard linked to College Walk
C-12 Broad sidewalks along the new Coleman Creek Drive
C-13 Pedestrian linkage to the new athletic/recreation facilities south of Asher Avenue
C-14 Expansion of the network of pedestrian walkways throughout the academic bridge sector
C-15 Expansion of sidewalks into the special residence areas: north of West 28th Street and within the former Methodist Children’s Home site
C-16 Extension of sidewalks along Fair Park Boulevard: West 32nd Street to Asher Avenue
C-17 Extension of sidewalk along University Avenue (West 28th to West 20th streets)
The major open space elements in this phase are the completion of Coleman Creek Greenway, creation of the University Green, and the series of quadrangles and courtyards of the academic core bridge. The following are the open space recommendations proposed in Phase 2 (see Figure IV:2-2).
OS-1 Completion of the Coleman Creek Greenway
OS-2 Signature entrance landscape at reconfigured University Drive
OS-3 Signature landscape along the new Coleman Creek Dive
OS-4 Landscapes at Phase 2 residential village, integrated into existing landscapes of Phase 1
OS-5 UALR streetscape within special residence villages
OS-6 Quadrangles and courtyards in academic bridge sector, integrated into core campus
OS-7 University Green, and associated streetscape along the new Campus Drive
OS-8 Library expansion/parking deck rooftop terrace garden
OS-9 Extension of UALR’s edge landscape—fence, lighting, etc.—along the northern edge of campus at West 20th and Fillmore streets
OS-10 New northern campus gateway at the intersection of University Avenue and West 20th Street
The completed Coleman Creek Greenway now physically connects the expanded residential and academic sectors, and new roadways, parking, and pedestrian paths make movement within the campus clear, direct, and safe. Expanding upon these achievements, Phase 3 focuses on completing the recommendations of the urban design plan that will result in a balanced campus composition of modern facilities and memorable landscapes, which together create a powerful identity, “sense of place,” and accessible resource for the larger metropolitan region.
Key developments in Phase 3 are:
- Construction of south campus academic and support facilities within the University Plaza site that establish a new UALR southern gateway and a presence along Asher Avenue
- Development of the Fair Park corridor, especially the construction of the student commons and the academic village
- Construction of the northern portal building at West 28th Street that both serves as a gateway and defines the northern reaches of the academic core
Twenty-five new buildings are proposed in Phase 3. Fifteen are designated as academic, support, or multi-use facilities, three as structured parking decks, and the remaining seven buildings identified as student residential facilities (see Figure IV: 3-1).
B-1 Signature gateway multi-use building complex at the intersection of University and Asher avenues (includes the gateway and adjacent L-shaped structure)
B-2 South campus signature portal building
B-3 Remaining south campus: one parking deck and three academic/support facilities
B-4 New buildings at sites vacated by Physics and Earth Sciences
B-5 North campus gateway portal building
B-6 Student commons at the intersection of Fair Park and West 32nd Street
B-7 Stephens Center parking deck
B-8 Academic village: three residence halls, two academic/support facilities, and a parking deck
B-9 Academic/support building north of Fine Arts
B-10 Signature building at the intersection of Asher and Fair Park
B-11 Residential village south of the physical plant
Building renovations and additions
Since most of the major circulation recommendations have been accomplished, Phase 3 focuses on integrating new projects into the improved system and the creation of a new south campus ceremonial entrance off Asher Avenue. The following are the circulation recommendations proposed in Phase 3 (see Figure IV: 3-2).
C-1 New south campus entrance off Asher Avenue
C-2 New south campus parking deck access road
C-3 Service corridor (accessing the University Theater and Donaghey Student Center service areas)
C-4 Service and parking area behind the Student Commons
C-5 Transit hub behind Student Commons
C-6 Service to gateway multi-use complex, also providing alternative access to adjacent parking deck
C-7 Reconfiguration of Stephens Center entrance sequence, parking, and access to new parking deck
C-8 Closure of East Campus Drive
C-9 Fillmore Street south of West 28th Street, as an alternative access to the east campus academic village
C-10 New entrance to the academic village residences off Fair Park Boulevard
C-11 New service parking area for the building at the intersection of Fair Park and Asher
C-12 Extension of College Walk north to the Stephens Center
C-13 Extension of College Walk south to the new portal building
C-14 Walkway connections to new buildings in the central core
C-15 Walkway connections between the academic village and campus
Phase 3 open space recommendations focus on completing the plan’s comprehensive landscape. The following are the open space recommendations proposed in Phase 3 (see Figure IV:3-3).
OS-1 Signature entrance at Asher Avenue
OS-2 South campus landscape improvements, new quadrangles, courtyards, and College Walk
OS-3 Extension of UALR edge/streetscape improvements along Asher Avenue to Coleman Creek Greenway
OS-4 Signature pedestrian entrance at University Avenue
OS-5 Signature north-campus pedestrian entrance at West 28th Street
OS-6 Stephens Center landscape improvements
OS-7 Student commons landscape Improvements
OS-8 Academic village landscape improvements
OS-9 South residential village landscape improvements
OS-10 Landscape associated with the building at the intersection of Asher Avenue and Fair Park Boulevard
OS-11 Extension of UALR edge/streetscape improvements along Asher Avenue and Fair Park Boulevard
Architectural and Site Design Guidelines
Cohesive architecture and a lush park-like landscape are central to the vision of the UALR campus. An essential next step to the master plan, therefore, is the development of a comprehensive set of design guidelines that will produce a campus environment unified in its architectural and site character, as well as in its building systems and infrastructure. The design guidelines should be separate from the existing UALR building standards, which focus on the specifics of facility development and construction.
Design and renovation of existing facilities should be viewed as an opportunity to foster an architecturally distinctive campus that is integrated through attractive, well-conceived and well-executed buildings. Taken as a whole, the campus architecture should establish a cohesive ensemble that aesthetically integrates its historic beginnings with new buildings that reflect cutting-edge technological innovation and design.
Open space development should be conceived as the design of one cohesive campus-wide landscape that creates a unified UALR sense of place. Open space provides an opportunity to integrate the University’s existing and future facilities and to connect the campus to the larger University District.
The master plan does not establish a full set of design guidelines, but rather identifies the broad objectives and areas of content to be developed in a separate study.
Goals and Objectives
The key goals and objectives are:
Develop a rational, unified design suitable for the metropolitan, academic environment of UALR.
- Develop a sense of place that unifies the campus and uniquely defines UALR.
- Create an architectural and landscape architectural vocabulary that is high-quality, cost-effective, and sustainable.
- Establish common construction components and features such as lighting, signage, fixtures and furnishings, roofing, exterior wall finishes, etc.
Encourage design that is responsive to the site, campus, University District, and regional context.
- Configure buildings to relate to the urban context.
- Create human-scale environments among buildings.
- Establish building and open space connectivity to the University District.
Fully support the University’s mission.
- Develop efficient layouts and adjacencies.
- Create a quality educational environment.
- Create a vibrant campus-life environment.
- Develop efficient and safe pedestrian and vehicular circulation.
- Establish an attractive natural environment.
- Establish responsible and practical design.
The design guidelines should address the following key areas:
- Scale and massing
- Building form
- Materials and color
- Stylistic elements
- Sustainable design
- Campus-wide open space plan
- Scale and connectivity
- Site elements
- Fixtures and furnishings
- Plant palette
- Sustainable design
- Signage and wayfinding
Plan and Review Oversight
The campus master plan is critical to achieving UALR’s strategic vision. The plan addresses many areas of strategic concern—excellence in instruction, research, and public service; safety and security; campus community and residential life; UALR identity; and connection to the larger region. For UALR to become the “higher education powerhouse” as envisioned, the master plan should be given full institutional support and overseen by an administrator of the University whose primary focus is its implementation. The master plan—and its associated design/development activities—should be reviewed on a regular basis to ensure that the plan and its phasing priorities remain relevant to the University’s strategic vision.
Further Studies and Early Action Projects
The master plan focuses on broad, comprehensive campus development issues and recommendations, rather than detailed design prescriptions for specific architectural, infrastructure, site, and landscape projects. However, the University will need in-depth development guidelines to ensure that the master plan is properly implemented. To that end, the master plan recommends that UALR undertake the following additional planning and design efforts:
- Campus Facility Design Guidelines
Design and development guidelines for campus architecture.
- Campus Landscape Master Plan
Comprehensive landscape master plan for all open space development, including planting, hardscape, signage, lighting and fixtures, and furnishings, as well as landscape design and development guidelines.
- Coleman Creek Greenway Design
Design of Coleman Creek Greenway addressing technical restoration/ remediation and aesthetic/recreational aspects of the project, including the alumni wall, seven bridges, and potential for inclusion of art within the corridor.
- Campus Landscape Management Plan
Comprehensive landscape maintenance and management plan for campus open space and a tree replacement program.
- Campus-Wide Stormwater Management Plan
Comprehensive stormwater plan for the campus that accommodates the master plan’s full build-out, provides options for management of campus flooding resulting from upstream Coleman Creek and the Broadmoor Lake, and helps to lessen the effects of campus stormwater flows into Fourche Creek.
- Infrastructure/Utility Master Plan
Comprehensive infrastructure/utility master plan addressing power, natural gas, chilled water, and steam/heating water at full campus build-out.
- Greek Life Sector Plan
Planning study to determine the most appropriate location and arrangement of Greek facilities once a program has been established by the Greek Life Task Force.