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UND community speaks up with master planning ideas, concerns

Work on UND's ongoing master plan has been extended to April 15, about two months later than originally expected, as officials consider the feedback collected this winter.

Graphic by Carli Greninger/Grand Forks Herald

Work on UND's ongoing master plan has been extended to April 15, about two months later than originally expected, as officials consider the feedback collected this winter.

Interim President Ed Schafer, who took office in mid-January, wanted the extension to provide more time to consider options.

Dave Chakraborty, associate vice president for facilities management at UND, and Gary Hay, who works for consulting firm Hay-Dobbs P.A., outlined three plans at forums this winter to cut deferred maintenance costs, bring departments together and make use of the School of Medicine and Health Sciences building that will soon be vacated and moved into a newly constructed $124 million building.

Anonymous comments submitted online, obtained by the Herald, show stakeholders on campus are concerned about UND's campus layout.

One plan would require two major moves, taking campus administration from Twamley Hall to the old Medical School, while fragmented programs and departments, such as Arts and Sciences, would then be moved to Twamley.


Those who commented said consolidating the academic core of campus and making administration accessible would be beneficial while others saw moving administration as a negative thing that would distance those offices from the rest of campus.

The second plan would move several spread-out departments and programs into the old Medical School building, which would retain some lab and classroom space.

Comments were minimal and varied with some writing they saw it as a good way to use the space in a building that would soon be vacated while others wrote the building was too far from the core of campus.

"Imagine walking from Wilkerson (Hall) to SMHS for an 8 a.m. class," one person wrote. "That's a tough sell."

The third plan would temporarily relocate some departments to the old Medical School while additions and renovations take place in the buildings surrounding an area known as the quad. Witmer, Gillette and Kelly halls would either be renovated or connected with new buildings to create one loop from Leonard Hall to the Education Building.

Those who wrote comments said new space and the possibility of new technology would be nice, strengthening the core of campus, but others said it would be risky to assume new construction would be funded.

"Need to figure out what to do with the Med School building; would hate for it to sit empty," one person wrote.

One person expressed the need for a LGBT center, others said buildings need to be LEED-certified for efficiency by the U.S. Green Building Council and one other person requested storage space for research and university vehicles be considered in the plan. One comment detailed the importance of keeping student services together or move them near the One-Stop student services office in the Memorial Union. Another said they are in charge of classroom scheduling and needed more space for classes held during primetime hours.


"As a campus we need to get real on the inability to continue to build at will and not adequately address deferred maintenance or the potential need to close or remove buildings," one person wrote. "These will not be easy conversations as there is history and human connections to place."

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