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NAU continues work on campus plan update

Northern Arizona University (NAU) is working to update its campus master plan to provide direction on how it will develop its physical space over the next decade.

A campus master plan considers the infrastructure needs of a campus and plans the necessary improvements in a way that addresses the broader goals of the university.

Facilities project manager Andrew Aikona said the plan will help NAU prioritize projects by getting a bigger picture of what the university needs and where the university is headed. said to help.

The university updates its basic plan every 10 years, but this update has been delayed due to the pandemic. The last update of the master plan he completed in 2010.

Aikona said the additional three years allowed for a current version of the plan that could accommodate the rapid changes in education brought about by the pandemic, rather than letting NAU lag behind in physical infrastructure.

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“The pandemic has changed the way students learn and get to school, perhaps more than in the last 30 years of education,” he said, adding that “so much of it is aligned with our goals and direction.” It’s possible there isn’t,” he said. As it may be. …We have learned a lot in the last three years about how to envision the campus of the future. ”

Part of the development has been underway since around 2019, but the current main process will start in March 2022. The Campus Master Plan has been in the draft stage since this spring and is currently under consideration, and we plan to submit the final version. It was submitted to the Arizona Board of Trustees (ABOR) Commission in November as the first step in the approval process.

The main task of the update is to assess the current state of the campus and use it to determine the needs of the campus. This includes investigating building performance, road and parking utilization, and underutilized or overutilized facilities.

“We’re looking ahead 10 years and looking at all the physical changes that could actually be made to support the growth and needs of today’s future students,” Ikona explained. .

The plan focuses on adding smart and sustainable design, with the idea of ​​considering both technology and the environment when planning the campus.

One example of sustainable design in this plan is next-generation heating and cooling to reduce emissions. NAU plans to replace some public infrastructure to support these systems in the “near future.” Another is to focus on renovating or reusing existing buildings wherever possible rather than demolishing existing buildings and building new ones. The plan also emphasizes building a mixed infrastructure to encourage the use of non-car transportation on campus.

NAU held an open house at the Murdoch Center Wednesday night on the masterplan so far, with community members coming in to see progress and leave comments.

Vice Chancellor for Community Relations, Josh Maher, said the main theme of the feedback they received was a desire to create more connections between the city and the university.

“They want access to the university and the different facilities we offer. They also want to know where they are going on campus,” he said. “Some things are simple, such as better parking, better directions, better signage.”

Björn Flugstad, CFO and senior vice president, said a larger priority in this effort is to successfully integrate the edges of the campus into the surrounding community through locations such as entrances near Interstate 17 and Milton Road. Finding a way, he added.

Another site on the edge of campus is the former Mandarin Buffet and Super Pawn, whose demolition began last week to make room for a new, yet to be determined use.

Because this project is one of many that fall under this campus master plan, decisions about what to do with its location will not be finalized until the plan is finalized and approved.

However, because Flagstaff’s summer construction season is relatively short and the building would need to be removed regardless of the future use of the site, the university decided to proceed with the demolition early.

“This demolition was heavily influenced by the planning and engagement we have had with the community and campus over the past few months,” said Aikona. “Specifying to go there will not be included in this until we have that approval.”

For more information on NAU’s basic plan, please visit:

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