Master Plan Update
Southern Oregon University commissioned a team from SERA Architects to provide a 10-year update to their initial 1999/2000 master plan. This update needed to reflect the needs for accommodating an additional 1000 students. In addition to expanding academic programs and modernizing student housing, numerous existing facilities were in need of deferred maintenance renovations and rehabilitations. Along with these needs, the plan update responds to the following goals of the university:
- Create academic distinctiveness and quality.
- Foster a commitment to the arts and the bioregion.
- Serve as a community catalyst.
- Financial sustainability.
The plan also provides a framework for a significant shift in the structure of the campus, to develop new housing to contemporary standards on the campus lands north of Siskiyou Boulevard. This proposed development is based on several factors:
- The need to develop a strong student life component on the campus, to support student retention and attraction;
- To support more sustainable development patterns, including development at densities that are both appropriate to the campus setting and supportive of transit and walkable communities; and
- A preliminary determination that the existing dormitory complex requires extensive upgrades and is not a residential model that serves contemporary students well.
By transitioning housing to the north campus area, the plan also effectively land banks areas currently devoted to student housing for long-range growth of the academic core of the campus.
Additionally, the plan includes an analysis of the overall structure of the campus, in particular the open spaces that are a defining characteristic of SOU. Improvements to the open spaces are proposed that will enhance the overall quality of the campus, especially those areas that serve as ‘gateways’ and contribute to the first impression visitors have of the University. Circulation changes are proposed for University Way and adjacent service roads. Improvements to the pedestrian crossings at Siskiyou Boulevard and Indiana/Wightman and Ashland Streets are also proposed.
Finally, the plan update also includes design guidelines for campus development—both buildings and common spaces—that are intended to enhance the best qualities of the existing campus and provide a more consistent character for future development.
North Campus Village Student Housing
Following completion of the master plan update for SOU, the university acted to replace its deteriorating and outmoded dormitory complex at Cascades Hall. Working again with SERA Architects and private student housing developer American Campus Communities, SOU began development of the new student life area on the north half of the campus. The first phase of the North Campus Village called for the construction of two new residence halls to accommodate a total of 708 students. These halls are focused on a new central quad. The project also called for a new dining hall immediately to the east of the residential quad and immediately to the north of the existing Greensprings residence hall.