Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,
As we begin an exciting new semester and back at last to a more normal campus experience, without the pandemic disrupting every aspect of our time together, we write to share an update on timely renovation and construction projects across campus and at several off-campus College locations. I write to provide you with information about these projects as well as with news about the new campus master plan process that we will be initiating this academic year. I will begin with that item.
Campus Master Plan
This year we intend to pursue our first new Lafayette campus master plan in more than seven years. As those of you who have been in higher education for some time know, an effort like this allows colleges and universities to chart out a long-term plan for the evolution and development of the facilities and spaces that serve every facet of their mission.
To pursue this comprehensive endeavor at Lafayette, we have engaged the outstanding SmithGroup as our partner. A renowned global firm with more than 200 years of experience in architecture, facilities, space planning, and more, including at numerous campuses of every scale, the SmithGroup will help us assess Lafayette’s campus needs and goals and formulate a master plan that guides campus development over the next 10 or more years. These efforts will include reviewing and evaluating facilities at all locations where the College operates, including the central campus on College Hill, the Williams Arts Campus on North Third Street, the Bushkill Commons on Bushkill Drive, and the Metzgar Fields Athletic Complex in Forks Township. This significant and necessary undertaking will address academic, athletic, residential, and administrative functions as well as such areas of campus life as facilities, dining, transportation, parking, pedestrian movement, infrastructure and utilities, sustainability, and the road to carbon neutrality.
We will undertake the bulk of this planning work during the 2022-23 academic year, with a focus on obtaining extensive input from students, faculty, staff, and affected constituents across our local community. That will include a forthcoming request that you participate in a survey called MapMyCampus, an easy-to-use mobile tool that will allow you to share your campus experiences and inform the SmithGroup’s understanding of life on and around campus. You also will be seeing invitations to a series of workshops, community information sessions, and other opportunities to share your ideas and discuss concerns and questions.
This information will all play a vital role in informing and shaping the campus master plan by summer 2023 so that the plan can be presented to the full community for review and implementation by the end of the 2023 calendar year.
We will soon be sharing more information with you about this effort, including a website that will provide you with timely information about listening and discussion sessions.
Renovation and Construction Projects
While the campus master plan will guide the long-term development of campus, there are of course also urgent needs for renovations and construction that must be tackled now. As you can tell by the trucks, equipment, and crews you are seeing at various locations across campus, crews are working hard on a number of critical projects at once. We’re fortunate to be able to make investments like these in the spaces that we use for learning, teaching, research, living, socializing, dining, recreation, wellness, athletics, and more.
So that you know the status and timelines of these projects and what they entail, we have relaunched our construction projects website that describes each current project, including pictures of its latest status. The projects include everything from the new Markle Parking Deck to a new Welcome Center, from the Acopian Engineering Center, to the new Simon Center for Economics and Business, and the new Wallach Sports Performance and Lacrosse Center. We also will be adding FAQs to this website in the coming days and weeks to address related matters.
We also know that as necessary as investments like these are, the work to get them done creates inconveniences—sometimes considerable ones—for those of us on campus. The firms we hire to do this work are experts at working on campuses, but the noise, dust, traffic, and other disturbances that result from construction and renovation can only be limited so much. We ask for your patience and understanding as this work unfolds. Should inconveniences or disturbances from this work prove especially problematic for you, please let us know via email. We will do everything we can to manage these challenges in ways that limit their interference with day-to-day campus life.
It is an exciting time at Lafayette as a great new semester gets underway, new and returning students make a bright new beginning together, and our exceptional faculty and staff step forward as only they can to teach, guide, and support our students. All around us, our campus will be getting better at the same time, and I appreciate your support and forbearance as we do our best to make it happen in service to the Lafayette we all create together.
To great things ahead and with gratitude,
Nicole Farmer Hurd