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Master Plan

U of M plans new improvements to campus, outlying properties.

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Since 2008, the University of Memphis has added its University Center, new student housing, and the Living Learning Residence Complex.

Those additions are a result of the U of M's 2008 Campus Master Plan. Now the university is updating that plan and scheduling more expansions.

As part of the discovery phase for the university's Campus Master Plan open-house sessions, five tables of about eight people — primarily U of M students, faculty, and staff — studied maps that showed an overview of the main campus and off-campus facilities.

They used colored dots to pinpoint areas on the map they would like to see preserved, enhanced, or transformed.

"We appreciate the input, and that's why we have these types of open houses," said Toney Poteet of the U of M's campus planning and design department. "The engagement and the discussions lead to a better campus, an improved sense of place, and facilities that allow us to deliver the highest-quality education."

The majority of participants agreed they would like to preserve the University Center and its large courtyard, the FedEx Institute, and Mynders Hall for its historic value.

They also agreed that the U of M's administration building, campus elementary school, library resources, and public-access parking needed enhancement.

Areas in need of transformation included the university's student and family housing, buildings that weren't compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the area of railroad tracks near campus.

Graduate student Zach Webb was one of the open house's participants. Webb wrote down several things he would like to see improved or redeveloped.

"Parking, the railroad connection across Southern, [and] green spaces for the campus," Webb said. "It's lacking in [green space] a little bit mainly because of the overabundance of service parking that could be consolidated into garages. It's taking up so much [space]. It would be great to see things improved upon and not so much expanded. [We need to] make what we have better."

The campus planning and design department, along with collaborating architecture firms — SmithGroupJJR and Looney Ricks Kiss Architecture — will look over the ideas and select the best ones. The ideas will be included in a draft plan.

The master plan open-house sessions will happen every few months over a 15-month period.

"It's a continual process of listening, understanding what the needs are, and revising the plan," said Neal Kessler of SmithGroupJJR. "We'll be back on campus seven times throughout the process. [Participants] have a unique opportunity to participate in the vision for what the campus wants to be in the future."

Poteet said there isn't an estimated dollar amount that the campus plans to spend on the new additions and renovations derived from its latest master plan.

Aside from the main campus, the master plan update will include the U of M's Park Avenue campus, Lambuth Campus, Millington Center, C.H. Nash Museum Chucalissa, Meeman Biological Center, and the Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law.

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