Campus sets long term vision with Campus Master Plan
A newly unveiled master plan for Laurier Brantford presents a bold vision of dramatic potential growth for the university over the next 15-plus years.
Projections foresee a jump to 8,000 students within eight years, and a booming enrolment of 15,000 students by the year 2023, according to a master plan developed by planning consultants IBI Group. Current enrolment is about 2,350.
The master plan offers guidance as to how the university, as well as the city and other community partners, will be able to accommodate increasing numbers of students by way of new buildings, renovations to old buildings, campus linkages, transportation and accommodation.
IBI Group identified six major goals for the growth and development of the Brantford campus: to create an integrated urban campus, integrate an open space and pedestrian network, plan for a transit oriented campus, create a distinct campus identity, excellence in design and architecture, and efficiency in land banking and phased development.
The plan calls for creation of an integrated urban campus through "strategically located new construction and adaptive reuse of existing downtown buildings."
Victoria Park and the Carnegie building would remain the central focal points of the campus with Darling and Market streets as the major pedestrian corridors. It is suggested that courtyards be developed that are connected by pedestrian walkways.
The plan recommends encouraging alternate forms of transportation for students, staff and faculty through ride-sharing initiatives, secure all-season bicycle parking, and by encouraging the city to develop multi-use trails and on-road bicycle lanes to and through the city core.
A distinct campus identity could be promoted through the design of university signage, buildings and landscaping, as well as through partnership with the city for improvements along Market and Darling streets, and in front of Laurier buildings.
The plan suggests that downtown buildings be adapted and reused where feasible to continue Laurier Brantford's identity as a "heritage campus" and that the university "continue to respect existing architectural heritage and building typologies of the downtown."
The plan notes that anticipated campus expansion through enrolment growth will require a "significant acquisition of land" to accommodate new buildings and residences and suggests the university concentrate on lands that will allow for taller buildings to maximize development potential.
The phasing strategy indicated by the plan is in four parts, from now to 2023, and foresees future key Laurier Brantford projects to include a potential library facility, proposed Laurier and YMCA athletic centre, more student residences, and a conference centre.