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College Campus Master Plan Underway
Burlington College has announced the completion of a preliminary campus master plan for the 32 acre property it acquired from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington in 2010.The plan is intended to serve as a guiding development and usage plan for the campus over the next ten to twenty years.
Burlington College President Christine Plunkett called upon TruexCullins Architecture and Interior Design to help develop the campus master plan. The TruexCullins team worked closely with H. Keith Wagner Partnership, Landscape Architects, who conducted a survey of land features, forestation and vegetation on the lakeside acreage.
The plan is based on a projected eventual enrollment of 750 students at the College. Current enrollment of about 250 students is an increase of 15% since the spring semester of 2011, when the college last occupied its prior quarters at the Colodny Building.
The campus master plan process, led by TruexCullins, involved extensive surveys and in-person meetings with college constituencies, including students, alumni, faculty, staff and trustees.
The development of the proposed master plan required understanding and carefully balancing the the mission, values and needs of the College; the physical attributes and landscape of the surrounding neighborhoods; and the city regulatory environment. One of the main objectives of the master plan strategy was preserving and enhancing the view corridor or "lawn" linking the landmark 1880's building to the stunning lake and mountain views from the west and south.
According to Plunkett, the city of Burlington requires submission of a comprehensive master plan before the College is permitted to undertake any campus construction projects.
"It makes sense in terms of responsible college administration and campus stewardship to have a clear vision for the future and a campus plan to match it," states Plunkett about the plans to develop the campus.
Highlights of the plan have been shared with Mayor Miro Weinberger and CEDO director Peter Owens, who were supportive of the vision..
The plan includes a housing development on the southern third of the property. Residence halls will provide on-campus housing for 200 or more students. A lakeside pavilion will house the College's Institute for Contemplative Studies and serve as a function venue for weddings, summer conferences and public and community events.
The plan also provides several acres of agricultural land for community/College gardens and other agricultural uses, along with a building to house an urban agriculture program.
In addition, there may be plans for expansion of the College's unique Craftsmanship and Design program which is enrolled to capacity at the Vermont Woodworking School, located in Fairfax, Vermont.
College CFO Bill Breen says faculty, staff and students at the College have been receptive to the plan, which they say satisfies their desire to maintain the beautiful open feel of the lakeside campus, while providing necessary buildings to support enrollment growth.
Breen says the revenue from the sale of land for a housing development will be an important mechanism for reducing the substantial debt the college incurred when the property was purchased.
The Burlington College Board of Trustees voted at their April meeting to adopt the master plan as a basis for moving forward with campus development and with fundraising efforts.
Breen says the College will entertain proposals submitted prior to July 31, 2013 from developers interested in the housing development.
"Ideally we will engage a developer who can provide some upfront investment capital, but who will partner with us throughout the development process and share revenues as lots are sold and built," states Breen.
Plunkett, who emphasized the College's commitment to the local community during her recent inaugural address, says she welcomes neighbors and others from the Burlington area to meet with her during a regularly scheduled monthly "Breakfast with the President" to share their ideas with regard to the campus master plan.
The College also intends to schedule a meeting with the Neighborhood Planning Association for the North End to discuss the plan and answer questions from the public.