Notes on Campus Planning

 The Campus Master Plan, Unity 2020 (8MB .pdf), is a guide.  Developed with considerable community input, it serves as a snapshot of our values, and a projection of those values into the future as we undertake campus construction, renovation, and changes in land use.  Much of the Master Plan expresses our institution-wide emphasis on sustainability, so it’s not surprising that I receive frequent inquiries about campus developments related to planning.

In fact, that’s a good enough reason for your Sustainability Coordinator to sit on the Planning Committee — a group led by a Board of Trustees member, which also includes student and faculty representatives, our Director of Facilities, and the whole slate of senior campus administrators.  It’s important to note that our campus planning does not take an “either/or” approach; we plan for new academic space and new residential buildings, we plan for major renovation of existing buildings and major alterations to the landscape. As funding allows, we implement major campus projects in accordance with the Master Plan — not a strict replication of the Master Plan drawing, but a firm adherence to the values and goals that informed the creation of our Master Plan.

Yesterday’s Leadership Council meeting — open to the entire campus community — focused exclusively on updates from this Planning Committee.  In brief, this is what we learned about upcoming and recent campus projects:

  • Wet Pond — We’ll create sediment and water retention ponds near the maintenance buildings this summer in order to naturally treat storm water runoff from the entire campus.
  • Student Passive House — With significant external funding, construction of this super-efficient, passive solar residence will begin in May and is intended to replace two current cottages with space for ten students.
  • Academic Expansion — A new lab facility with two classrooms, prep space, and three faculty offices will be located uphill of Koons Hall.
  • Student Activities Building — Though we are pursuing significant renovations for the Student Activities Building down the road, this year we will focus on upgrading heating controls, sound proofing, and some cosmetic improvements to increase occupant comfort.
  • Community Trail — Nearly ten years ago, Unity College contracted to partner with the Department of Transportation to provide this path between campus and downtown Unity.  The College contributed about ten percent of the construction costs, but could not justify committing additional financial resources for lighting and winter maintenance.  Every effort will be made to encourage safe, seasonal use of the trail.
  • Library Boiler — Unity College received nearly $75,000 in federal and private funding to replace the inefficient fuel oil boiler in the library with a new pellet boiler system.

Look for full minutes from this Leadership Council meeting to be distributed by campus email.


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