Friday, October 16, 2009

The Preferred Option

In another life, yours truly was a professional whitewater raft guide, primarily in California, but also in places like Oregon and New Zealand. One thing I learned in that job was that there are often several different routes to make it safely through a rapid. When approaching a particularly tricky rapid, guides would often pull ashore upstream in order to scout it out from a vantage point where they could get an all-encompassing view of the entire rapid. Only after they had analyzed the conditions which lay ahead would they decide which route would be the preferred option to take on that particular run of the river.

Taking an all-encompassing view of the campus was the job of the various UIC Master Plan committees and their consultant team during Phase I. Looking at the implications of numerous conditions and proposing several options for how the campus could look and feel in the future has taken the majority of time during Phase II. This effort will culminate in a report to be issued early next month which focuses on the preferred option.

As a result of study, committee discussions, and campus and community meetings, the following provisions should be assumed within the preferred option and as we move into Phase III:
  1. After their functions have been relocated to other appropriate spaces, alternative uses (including buildings and/or open spaces) can be envisioned for the land that currently lies beneath the following buildings:
    Applied Health Sciences Building
    Disability, Health and Social Policy Building
    Lecture Centers B and E
    Marshfield Avenue Building
  2. The Commonwealth Edison Sub-Station site will be cleared and available for other purposes.
  3. No further consideration should be given to the demolition of the following buildings:
    Behavioral Sciences Building
    School of Public Health and Psychiatric Institute
    University Hall
  4. Surface parking should be phased out, structured parking should be expanded, and, in line with the Campus Climate Action Plan’s goal, a 30% reduction in drive-alone UIC commuting should be incorporated into parking and traffic assumptions and projections.
  5. The concept of a modest, partial decking over the Eisenhower to create a landscaped open space and/or “transit-oriented development” (T.O.D.) can be carried forth, but only with the caveat that it would not be built with UIC funds.
  6. The medical center and affiliated medical support facilities will eventually create major frontages on both sides of Roosevelt Road.
  7. Projects which would require minimal capital, yet have major visual impacts in the short term, should be given significant emphasis in both the Phase II report and beyond.

Okay, now that we’ve got a plan in mind, let’s all forward paddle. STROKE, STROKE...

Question of the week: Fill in the blank: What the campus needs most is ______.

Until next Friday…

1 comment:

  1. I'll speak to the East Side which I know better: one short-term and one long-term idea.

    Short term: Put steps on the east side of BSB to the terrace. BSB was designed to be entered from the second-floor terrace. The building makes more sense and is more attractive entered that way. Steps might be cost-effective, make BSB more appealing, increase use of the terrace, and offer students a place to hang out in warm weather.

    Long term: Turn lots 1 and 5 into grassy quadrangles. Quads are like parks for a university community; and, there is demand: students walk to the edge of campus and endure expressway noise to use Harrison Field. It's also a shame that many visitors to UIC (Pavilion, Chicago Marathon) only see vast expanses of asphalt. Are those the "clothes" we would chose to wear so publicly?


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