This fall our 2022 Campus Master Plan was approved by the city commission of Kalamazoo. This plan updates the 2012 Campus Master Plan and presents a roadmap of how the College envisions the physical campus may evolve over the next decade.
One of the most important features of the plan addresses residential life. As much as we cherish the long history of our residence halls, it’s impossible not to think of all the advances that have taken place since the dedications of these hallowed halls. Buildings today are light years ahead in terms of energy efficiency, accessibility and technology.
The plan calls for new construction, replacement of some current residence halls, and major renovation of others. We aim to create a variety of housing that will keep more upperclassmen on campus—fully woven into campus life. Built into these “living-learning” spaces will be classrooms, studios and labs, student meeting hubs, and flexible spaces to accommodate peer leader support and academic tutoring. Beyond the physical spaces themselves, we know that expanding housing capacity will allow us to eliminate inequities in our students’ living environments and create a more level playing field for all.
The plan also seeks to enhance our campus image along its public edges, improve pedestrian safety and connectivity to and from campus with downtown, and increase our outdoor gathering spaces. In doing so, we aim to improve accessibility around our hilly and somewhat challenging landscape. The K athletics program can now extend the number of days and times in which we can use MacKenzie and Angell Fields, which will give students the opportunity to participate in night games at Angell Field, and will provide flexibility in the event of weather and unforeseen game delays.
The updated Campus Master Plan was developed with input from faculty, staff and students, the surrounding neighborhoods and city officials. We are particularly grateful to the West Main Hill Neighborhood Association for its support in engaging our neighbors, as well as City Planner Christina Anderson ’98, who helped connect the plan to the strategic goals of the city’s vision and guide for the future, Imagine Kalamazoo 2025. The planning process was led by a K committee consisting of Associate Vice President for Facilities and Chief Sustainability Officer Susan Lindemann, Vice President for Student Development J. Malcolm Smith, Vice President for Admission and Financial Aid Mj Huebner and Professor of Physics Tom Askew.
I believe this plan will ensure that our future footprint will serve the needs of our entire K community. I’m excited to start on more detailed planning, and of course, we will be doing the important work of fundraising for these critical projects. This is a long-term endeavor. While the extended use of the athletic fields will be implemented immediately, the residential life components will take place over many years and are likely to be completed as we approach the College’s bicentennial in 2033. As plans evolve and we share more information, I hope you will be as excited as I am to be a part of K’s campus renewal.
Saludos and lux esto,
Jorge G. Gonzalez