Jonathon Liedtke – ourWindsor.ca – June 20, 2013
To mark the 50th anniversary of the University of Windsor, the institution is setting its sights 50 years into the future and has released a new campus master plan, which was recently approved by the Board of Governors.
The plan establishes a vision for the next 50 years and according the university’s website, it aims to feature an “attractive design that enriches both the student and community experience, and positions the university to be more competitive.”
Dr. Wildeman, the president and vice-chancellor of the University of Windsor explained in a telephone interview with OurWindsor.ca that the plan was developed as a reaction to the university building the new parking garage.
“We realized as we were doing that, as we started looking at land that we could reclaim from parking … this was an opportunity to rethink the connections between spaces on the campus and what we could do to enhance the attractiveness of the campus,” said Dr. Wildeman who believes that the changes will help bring the university into the 21st century and that it will help to “point [in] a direction we can go.”
The plan includes pedestrian pathways with lightening, hubs of activity for recreation, cultural displays and a new welcome centre, waterfront campus, international campus and different ‘commons’ including, library, student, heritage, science, dramatic arts, innovation and residence.
Wildeman also indicated that there is a possibility for a soccer field to be constructed in the centre quad.
Also included in the plan are special ‘corridors’ designed to link different areas of campus. The innovation corridor will connect the new engineering building to the main campus, while the downtown corridor will serve as a link to new university properties in the core.
“We want to make it much clearer to people that you are entering the University of Windsor campus,” said Dr. Wildeman regarding the downtown corridor. “The corridor along University Ave., as we do this, will start to become clearer over time [and] a very signature corridor between the downtown campus and the main campus.”
Rob Crawford, president of the University of Windsor Students’ Alliance, wasn’t involved in developing the new plan, but explained in a telephone interview that he was at the final presentation.
“I think it’s pretty amazing because what they’re doing now, with the expansion downtown, we have this innovation cluster [and] new logo,” said Crawford. “Now the focus is finally coming back to our main campus, fixing it, making it something unique.”
Crawford believes that the campus master plan will help to foster a better learning environment for students because “it’s more inviting to actually spend time on campus and there will be more student space and a lot more green space … I think that it will help in terms of education.”
A slide in the campus master plan stated: “The University of Windsor is a progressive student-centred University, where the challenges of communities and of a world in transition inform the education we provide, the research we do, and the creative endeavours we pursue.”
Crawford explained that he thought that the University of Windsor is “attempting to turn itself into a very progressive institution. They’re trying to be at the cutting edge of innovation.”
Thursday afternoon, Larry Horwitz, the president of the Downtown Windsor Business Improvement Association, circulated an email to members of the media stating that the DWBIA would offer $50,000 to the University for programming for the law school, over a period of three years, contingent that Wildeman move the law school into the downtown core.
When asked if the proposal was enough to woo the university into the core, Wildeman expressed that it was too early for such talk.
“We certainly appreciate the enthusiasm … that kind of support is great,” said Dr. Wildeman. “But in terms of taking the law school downtown … we’ve not yet even begun to wrap our mind around the feasibility of it, whether it’s a good option for us, or anything like that.”
For more information, check out http://www.uwindsor.ca/campus-master-plan
Jonathon Liedtke is the Features & Opinion Editor for the University of Windsor Lance Campus/Community Newspaper and a reporter for ourWindsor.ca. As a founding member and current Co-Chair of the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Committee, he is committed to representing, connecting, engaging with and advocating for local youth. He is also a member of Windsor’s “Punk with Horns” band The Nefidovs, and as such, is committed to enhancing and sustaining the arts community.