If you imagine the Augsburg College campus, what do you see?
With just 23 acres, bound by Interstate 94, the University of Minnesota, and the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood, Augsburg’s Minneapolis campus needs careful planning to ensure it remains a vibrant, efficient, and sustainable learning environment. This fall, the Augsburg College Board of Regents approved the College’s 2016 campus master plan, the work of a cross-campus task force that lays out a 20-year vision for Augsburg’s Minneapolis location.
Here is a snapshot of some of the major initiatives illustrated in the plan plus insights from Campus Master Plan Task Force members.
One of the top near-term priorities in the campus master plan is to extend and reimagine the Augsburg College quad. The existing quad, just outside the front door of Christensen Center, is enclosed by five buildings. Upon completion of the Norman and Evangeline Hagfors Center for Science, Business, and Religion, however, many of the department and program offices now housed in Science Hall will relocate, offering the College the opportunity to raze that building and open the existing quad’s western border to make the new signature academic building visible from the campus core.
Expanding the quad east-to-west will create a ribbon of pedestrian traffic—a greenway—connecting the Hagfors Center on the west and Murphy Square in the east to the pulse of campus and community life.
Another high priority in the campus master plan is the restoration of Old Main. The historic beauty of the College’s oldest standing building makes it a centerpiece for student learning as well as for welcoming alumni, community members, and special guests.
Key features of the project include refurbishing the original, multi-story skylight at the center of the building and restoring the chapel space to host events and gatherings. With the north doorway of Old Main opening directly to the extended quad, Old Main will sit at the heart of campus. New, more accessible entrances and updated elevators will make the building more welcoming to all visitors. An interdisciplinary approach to classroom scheduling in the building will give a diverse array of students the chance to take classes in Old Main during their time at Augsburg.
“Physical spaces tell the story of a campus, and I have seen dramatic differences in the experiential stories told by organizations that have a master plan and those that do not. Augsburg has intentionally worked to plan what it is and what it is striving to become. The master plan guides how the campus will evolve to support our mission and long-term vision.”
Andra Adolfson, business development director for Adolfson & Peterson Construction, Inc., and Augsburg College Regent
The campus master plan also calls for new development on the easternmost edge of campus. Augsburg’s plan is to partner with a developer to turn the current surface parking lot into a multi-story, mixed-use building that combines retail and office spaces, residences, and a six-story parking ramp.
By moving parking to the edge of campus, the College, over time, can make the remainder of campus greener – by removing numerous other surface parking lots – and help its streets become more pedestrian-friendly by reducing through traffic and street parking. This work will transform the campus experience from one that is car-centric, with buildings surrounded by parking, to one where the buildings are connected by greenery and walkways.
“Through the process of engaging different campus groups [in updating the campus master plan], we really thought about Augsburg as a community. We want a lively campus where people are regularly crossing paths with one another as we go to and from classes and offices-such interesting conversations and inspiration arise when people from different disciplinary and experiential backgrounds share space.”
Nancy Fisher, associate professor, Department of Sociology
The master plan also outlines changes to Memorial Hall. Updates to this building, which was constructed in 1938 as a dormitory, would align its interior design with its contemporary use. Today, Memorial Hall has faculty offices lining central, narrow hallways within its brick-and-ivy exterior. The remodel would preserve the building’s exterior but update the interior configuration to improve accessibility and introduce gathering areas for informal learning and student-faculty interaction. These spaces, or “department homes,” would enhance the student learning experience by encouraging students to meet and engage with their professors outside of the classroom.
Enhancing student interaction is at the heart of a vision to transform the southwest area of campus. New construction would replace Urness and Mortensen residence halls and introduce an athletic field house connected to student housing. This residential-recreation center will promote healthy lifestyles and invite all Auggies—including residential, commuter, adult, and graduate students—to a central space to hang out, work out, study, and relax.
The master plan also touches on the ways people navigate to—and through—campus. And these efforts to improve the safety for motorists and pedestrians will allow for the expansion of student learning spaces. Introducing a roundabout at the northeast corner of Murphy Square and realigning the northern portion of 23rd Avenue South to form a right-angle with Riverside Avenue opens up space for additional buildings near the existing Foss Center and Anderson Music Hall. Augsburg’s campus master plan calls for using this space to build a unified arts district that includes studios and performance spaces for studio arts, music, performing arts, and related disciplines. The master plan also includes a similar roundabout and street realignment of 22nd Avenue South, creating another main entrance, facing Riverside Avenue, for Hoversten Chapel.
“The campus master plan reinforces our commitment to creating our campus as an asset both to the College as well as the broader community. Expanding the quad to create more green space and a gateway to the community provides an inviting environment for our neighbors and all who experience our campus.”
Steve Peacock, director of Community Relations
Read the Campus Master Plan Update to learn more about these and other initiatives.
Renderings courtesy of Oslund & Associates