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Planning firm unveils five-stage plan

By Timothy Simko


SmithGroupJJR held an open forum on April 24 in the Main Classroom auditorium from noon to 1 p.m. to get feedback and hear concerns about the proposed master plan for the university and its future implementation.

The master plan is “academically driven,” and is a physical master plan that they are hoping for campus-wide discussion.

SmithgroupJJR is hoping to improve life on campus for all Cleveland State students, with hopes to improve areas such as student life and recreation.

Mary Jukuri, a campus planner from SmithGroupJJR, introduced SmithGroupJJR representatives who are working closely with Cleveland State on the master plan. She introduced campus planner Michael Johnson and Landscape Architect Project Manager Tony Nastasi.

Jukuri started off her slideshow presentation by educating the audience about the master planning team.

SmithGroupJJR is the lead consultant, working on campus planning and design. P. Allen & Associates Inc. are working on the academic space planning, and Baker is going to help with campus mobility parking and transportation systems. Corbin Design will help with campus wayfinding, and Knight & Stolar Inc. will help with local landscape architecture.

Jukuri’s slideshow explained that the purpose of the master plan is to provide a comprehensive framework to guide the physical development of the campus going forward. The consultants described their plan as “phased and implementable” — balancing long-range vision with short-term actions.

Jukuri briefly explained the five stages of the master plan: discovery, analysis and space needs, idea generation, refinement, and documentation.

SmithgroupJJR analyzed the data and began generating ideas, creating a bunch of “What if?” scenarios. Through Mindmixer, they are hoping to have a building-by-building discussion and figure out which buildings fall short and why.

Jukuri described the feedback they had been hearing from students and faculty before holding an open discussion with the 22 people in attendance.

Jukuri then showed enrollment trends — which has enrollment stable and consistent at about 17,500 students — and predicted that Cleveland State enrollment will stay about the same.

Because of this stable enrollment, there are incentives to increase admission standards to help graduation rates and in turn receive more state funding since the funding is partially based on completion.

“We’re targeting this funding to the areas of greatest need,” said Bruce Ferguson, director of Planning Design and Construction at Cleveland State.

Although enrollment is consistent, it was shown that the population of Cuyahoga County is decreasing with more and more students coming from other places.

SmithGroupJJR is also hoping to help improve the student experience for all students by creating more space on campus.

One faculty member voiced his concern about limited space.
“Students have to sit on the floor or lean against a wall while waiting for classes,” he said.

Those in attendance also said that the overall layout of the campus was awkward. Jukuri addressed the concern of the faculty and those in attendance concerning the space issues.

“We started looking at how we can reconfigure existing space,” she said.

Ideas that are currently being put on the table include looking at floor plans and the possibility of creating an open lab concept.

“We want to look at some priorities where there is deficit in space and create efficiencies,” said Jukuri.

SmithGroupJJR will be back on May 27 and May 28, and are seeking feedback and input on larger campus issues. The firm understands that students may be gone for the summer, but encourage students and faculty alike to visit http://csumasterplan.mindmixer.com and give feedback online if they can’t attend an open forum.