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Campus plan maps future

April 7, 2011

The completed UW-River Falls master plan will showcase many future changes to the campus structure including the creation of a campus gateway to serve as a front door welcoming visitors.

The preliminary plan released on March 2 calls for new looks to the union plaza, the open area located just north of the University Center and the open areas through the center of campus that make up the campus mall.  The plan also relies on a state and city project to create roundabouts at Second and Sixth streets on Cascade Avenue in order to create a campus gateway.

The goal of the major gateway planned for the sixth street roundabout will be to serve as an entry to visitors and new students looking to take their first step into the UWRF community.

“It is important for the campus to have a main entrance to let people know when they have arrived on campus and where they should go once they get here,” said UW-River Falls Chancellor Dean Van Galen.  “Right now a lot of the thinking is that it will be on the road that connects with Cascade that is to the west of Rodli Hall.”

Rodli Hall, according to Van Galen, is structurally sound and will hopefully undergo a major renovation in about four years so that it can be better utilized to serve the campus. 

The preliminary master plan listed Rodli Hall as the future home of Student Services showing the building as a singular location to house student service departments currently spread throughout different buildings across campus. 

Besides the main gateway the outlook is to also have minor gateways at the Second Street roundabout, at Birch Street on Cascade, the Main Street entrances into Parking Lot E, the Health and Human Performance Building and the entrance to the on-campus lab farm. 
The gateways will be entrances to cars, bicyclists and pedestrians entering campus on the improved road, bicycle and pedestrian networks.  The new road system will run a loop through the main campus just north of the Kinnickinnic River beginning on the west end at the Second Street roundabout with other entry and exit points at the major gateway at Sixth Street and on the eastern edge near the campus daycare.

The bicycle and pedestrian paths will also see a remodeling so that they are easier to see by travelers as they approach the crossings. 

“The idea there is to give the feel that the pedestrians are the priority and not the vehicles,” said Van Galen.  “That could be some type of raised pedestrian walkway; it could in landscaping around that path or walkway that crosses the street to signal cars that there are pedestrians here and that they are the priority.”

Van Galen also added that pedestrian crossings will be limited to improve safety and a median will be included in the changes to Cascade to make it feel more like a neighborhood street then a busy thoroughfare.

Written responses providing feedback to the preliminary master plan were accepted through March 22.  That feedback will be used to make appropriate adjustments to the final plan for its release in August 2011.

“Generally I believe people are pleased overall with the plan,” said Val Galen. “The new science building that we have envisioned to be constructed has been placed on the west side of campus close to Ag Science and many people think that’s a good idea because of the connections between the disciplines in Ag Science and the new science building.”

Other ideas in the plan that Van Galen said were interesting included a space dedicated for an outside hockey rink.  He added that the feedback will be reviewed and a revised plan will be presented in the next set of campus workshops April 26-27.  The updated master plan will also included updated illustrations of phasing to look at the order projects will be completed over the next 15 years.