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A 'front door' for VCU's two campuses? University holding master plan updates this week

A 'front door' for VCU's two campuses? University holding master plan updates this week

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As Virginia Commonwealth University nears the midway point in its master plan development, it’s reporting back to the community this week.

The university will hold three meetings with students, faculty and broader members of the VCU community to update them on the master planning process, which kicked off in the fall.

“These presentations are going to review what we’ve heard so far, go over draft themes and principles and strategies that will form the foundation of the master plan going forward,” said Meredith Weiss, the university’s vice president for administration.

The three hourlong sessions are scheduled for:

  • Tuesday from noon to 1 p.m. in the Kontos Medical Sciences Building Auditorium at 1217 E. Marshall St.;
  • Tuesday from 6 to 7 p.m. in the Temple Building room 1164 at 901 W. Main St. Free, validated parking is available at the West Main Street Parking Deck for this session; and
  • Wednesday from noon to 1 p.m. in the Temple Building room 1160 at 901 W. Main St.

The master plan started in October after VCU hired Ayers Saint Gross, a Baltimore-based architecture firm, to develop and manage the process. The firm has helped develop master plans for Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University and Ohio State University, among others.

VCU had public sessions in the fall with the community, gathering input about what community members wanted in the future infrastructure plan.

Now, university officials are going back to make sure they’re on the right track as they complete the second of five phases in the process.

One of the main issues being discussed is “front doors” to VCU in hopes of making it clearer to people when they enter the school grounds. The university has established a focus group to look at entryways into both urban campuses — Monroe Park and MCV.

“It’s important that we’re a part of the city and that we ensure our respectful architectural integration between our properties,” Weiss said.

The university is also looking at other urban campuses for inspiration.

“We’re always looking for examples of where we can take urban notes and apply them to our own situation,” said Mary Cox, the university architect. “Of course, Richmond is unique. We have our own culture, our own character and neighborhoods. So we borrow what we can and learn from that.”

Weiss said feedback given at this week’s sessions will be integrated into the plan, which has been named “ONE VCU.”

Said Weiss: “What we hear will be used to shape the university’s physical development for the next decade.”

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Twitter: @jmattingly306


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