Springfield looks to evolve with Master Plan

Grace Berry
@graysperry

This past year, Springfield College has put tremendous efforts towards bettering the way campus looks, feels, and flows. Installing the brand new Learning Commons that can be used for so much more than just the stereotypical library, adding a refurbished baseball facility that has an ability field built into it, and even the smaller changes like allowing women to live in Alumni Hall are all ways the campus has been adapted to suit the needs of an ever changing environment. However, the college is always looking for new ways to keep the change fresh and new.

President Mary-Beth Cooper and the Board of Trustees have been diligently seeking out ways to expand Springfield to benefit not only today’s students, but also those of the future. Whether it be improving conditions of academic buildings, or constructing new ones altogether, the Campus Master Plan has it covered.

While still in the first stage of being formulated, the Campus Master Plan is a way to broadcast what the school still needs in order to be up to date. Recently, the college held a workshop involving students, faculty, staff, alumni, and trustees to get a basis of what was concerning people about the campus. Questions were asked about how to improve residence halls, academic buildings, and even if all of Springfield College’s land was being utilized to its full potential.

One main area of focus brought up recently is the fact that all of the academic buildings are so spread apart. In the center of campus, there are really only two, Hickory Hall and Schoo-Bemis Science Center. Because Blake Hall and the Health Science Center are on direct opposite sides of campus, the Master Plan aims to at least address some of these distance issues.

An instrumental part in the Campus Master Plan, Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration, John Mailhot, believes that an addition of academic buildings in the center of campus could someday become a reality, but first a solid plan needs to be drawn out.

“How might we reimagine the campus to maybe put more [academic buildings] in the middle? It probably means moving parking around. Right now that’s the phase we’re in, just trying to identify what the best use of our [land] is.”

Even though the main focus in the early stages of the plan is focused around the academic side of things, entertainment and recreation will also become a factor. While residence halls, the Union, and athletic fields are some of the more popular places for students to gather, the Master Plan explores other venues for students to congregate.

“It’s your home away from home,” Mailhot explained. “We want to provide top-notch facilities. We want to provide a space where our students feel really comfortable, whether they’re learning, whether they’re recreating, whether or not they’re just hanging out with their friends.”

As of right now, the Campus Master Plan board has just selected the firm CenterBrook Architects to be the consultants for this project. They have worked in the past with colleges such as Quinnipiac University. Since Springfield hasn’t updated this type of plan since the early 2000’s under former President Richard B Flynn, the board felt it was time to revamp it.

In February, the entire Board of Trustees will be meeting to go over the Master Plan and hopefully finalize it. As of right now, students are being asked to fill out the survey sent to their emails to give more feedback on what the plan should entail. This survey is open until November 20, and all feedback is helpful.  

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