On the occasion of the University of Windsor’s 50th Anniversary, a Campus Master Plan was released that established a vision for the next 50 years, with an attractive design intended to enrich both the student and the community experience, and positions the university to be more competitive.
“This plan works in conjunction with our Campus Transformation Plan to determine what the spaces in between our buildings will look like, and how the buildings connect with each other. The plan acts as a guide for future decisions regarding the aesthetics of new buildings, and it identifies key projects that could help unify the campus, and that could be undertaken as funding opportunities permit,” said Alan Wildeman, President and Vice-Chancellor.
The University of Windsor engaged +VG Architects, The Ventin Group Ltd. and conducted extensive consultations with administration, faculty members, students, the Board of Governors, and community stakeholders to develop the new plan. These brainstorming groups imagined new pedestrian pathways enhanced with lighting, landscaping, and signage that will lead to various hubs of activity for recreation, cultural displays, water features and gathering spaces with seating. The plan also heightens the sense of arrival on campus with impressive gateway signage, welcoming points of interest and sought-after destinations reached through easily accessible entry points to help navigate the campus.
The plan also reflects some very creative thinking, with suggestions for such major changes as a landscaped pedestrian bridge over the railway tracks to link the Human Kinetics and athletics complex with the central campus. Also, the residence quad located near the corner of Wyandotte and Huron Church could be consolidated into new buildings on the real estate currently occupied by the Clark residences on Sunset to create a village atmosphere. This would free up space on campus for an open-air amphitheatre attached to the Dramatic Arts building.
The design includes a new central link that draws a connection from the Leddy Library commons area, north on Patricia to the riverfront. Distinctive links with the new downtown campus along University Avenue are also envisioned to help unite the two campuses and ease the transition of traffic between each location.
Paul Sapounzi, a partner in +VG said,
“Careful attention was paid to ensure accessibility to all, and to incorporate car-free areas, locate parking at the campus perimeter, and accommodate future technology such as hybrid vehicles and transit.”
The Welcome Centre, completed in Spring 2015 was the first capital project to specifically align with the design concepts in the Campus Master Plan.
Located near the northwest corner of Sunset Avenue and Wyandotte, the Welcome Centre is aptly named to function as the front door to campus as the official address and main identifier of the university. It is the gateway through which new and prospective students enter and where they will return as alumni members. It is approximately 20,000 square feet and houses the administrative offices of student admissions and recruitment, alumni affairs, annual giving and stewardship, the University campaign office, and public affairs and communications.