This past year, Arkansas Tech has been refining its Master Plan, which is intended to improve campus within the next 10 to 20 years.
The Master Plan was approved by the Board of Trustees in October of 2017; there is now time to review and await the start of the plan.
The Master Planning Process began with assembling task forces, which dealt with analyzing specific parts of growth around campus. The six task forces included: Ensuring Safety and Security; Creating Sustainable Campuses; Improving Technology Infrastructure; Assessing Building/Facility Needs and Space Utilization; Enhancing Transportation and Parking; and Integrating Community and Preserving Campus Heritage. These task forces worked to understand the best possible methods of where to place each proposed change.
Ideas for improvements came partly from student and faculty opinions taken from a survey. Students suggested a recreation facility, a student union, a new Fine Arts & Humanities Building and a 24-hour study facility. Faculty agreed that Tech was in need when it came to classrooms, study rooms and recreation centers.
The approved Master Plan includes more academic buildings, demolition of several existing buildings and new socialization areas on campus. Priority projects within the Master Plan are a STEM building, a performing arts center, a student hall, a new entrance, housing on part of El Paso and a student union.
“There are priority projects that we’ll be looking at, and it gives us direction and a guidance that these were the products that were the top priorities,” Jayne Jones, chairperson of the Integrating Community and Preserving Campus Heritage task force, said. The long-term plans include a new administration building, Greek housing, a pedestrian street, more academic buildings, a second STEM building and new student halls. Demolition includes Stroupe, Dean Hall, Critz and Witherspoon.
Funding will be a key component of this operation. Private donors and companies will be the main source. Faculty and school boards will also be highly reviewed to help fund the Master Plan. Although the final decisions have not been made yet, Jones said the university “will be looking at grant possibilities” and believes “that all revenue sources will be definitely considered and on the table.”
As of right now, nothing is set in stone and the Master Plan will continue to be worked on. “It will be evaluated as we go forward, and updated, and whatnot. Because, in twenty years, I can promise you things will change. Needs will change, student preferences will change. Things that are at the top of their list right now, as some of these things are being met, other things will come about,” Jones said. Jones and the rest of the master planners will await further news and see how this year goes to consult further improvements or updates to the Master Plan. For more information about the Master Planning process, students can visit https://www.atu.edu/masterplanning/.