» By Brittany Hickey
For the most part, Arthur Lidsky’s proposals for APSU’s 15-year master plan were largely hypothetical – dependent entirely upon fundraising. The expansion of the fine arts complex, however, is neither.
According to Lidsky, president of the campus planning firm DLM Planners, APSU plans to grow the arts program and the best option is to add on to Trahern for studio arts and dance space. Space left by the studio arts could be renovated to expand the theater. The beginnings for such a project are in the works, Lidsky said, and will be completed in the next several years.
At the forums held Monday, April 15, and Tuesday, April 16, for students, faculty and staff, Lidsky showed a couple of potential locations for the new arts building. In one scenario, it would branch off to the west of Trahern.
The plan has been in the works since June 2012 and is fueled by suggestions made by task forces and the need for space as enrollment increases. Much of the suggestions in the presentation focused on closing off the central areas to traffic and moving parking lots to the periphery. Ultimately, the plan enlarges the central green quad from the small area around the UC and the library to Trahern, Sundquist and elsewhere.
In addition to expanding the central quad, the “heart of APSU” as Lidsky called it, the plan calls for the eventual closing of Drane Street, the road between the Foy and the stadium, and the road that weaves through the center of campus and in front of the UC to traffic. While emergency and service vehicles would still get through, the paths would be reserved for pedestrians.
Transforming the campus into a largely foot-traffic only atmosphere will increase the safety for students, Lidsky said.
The makers of the plan considered the Tennessee Board of Regents’ standards and, while APSU is meeting all of their targets for class sizes, if enrollment increases at its current rate, in 15 years APSU will need six to eight new buildings.
In the plan, APSU gets a new admissions building that gets moved to College Street, where it can serve as what Lidsky called the “front door to APSU.”
All of these hypothetical suggestions are possible, he said, but they won’t all happen at once.
“It depends on the university’s priorities, funds, politics and the state’s influence,” Lidsky said.
A large focus was placed on the plans for a student success center that will consolidate APSU’s academic resources to a convenient location in the center of campus.
“It will be a one-stop shop to help students succeed,” Lidsky explained. The success center the plan proposes is 138,000 square feet and features labs for math, writing and technology, large lecture halls, meeting rooms, a library and tutoring.
These six to eight new buildings that could crop up across the center of campus over the next 15 years will compound the existing parking issues as parking lots disappear under the new construction. The plan proposes that parking be moved to the perimeters in lots, garages and decks.