Sunset Avenue will be closed to vehicular traffic and transformed into a lively public space that connects points of arrival, cross-campus pedestrian routes and recreational activity, under designs for phase one of the Campus Master Plan approved Tuesday by the UWindsor Board of Governors.
Sunset Avenue will close in the summer of 2014, after California Avenue, one block east, has been upgraded by the City of Windsor. Cost estimates are still in the works for the development of each zone, with completion dates varying between 2014 and 2017.
“Phase one of the Campus Master Plan re-imagines our physical spaces in ways that will enhance the experience we want our students to have,” said UWindsor president Alan Wildeman. “The creative designs in this phase provide new campus gateways, and functional outdoor spaces that will offer everyone places to gather and relax, enjoy recreational activity, or celebrate an event. I am grateful to the City of Windsor for working with us to create campus spaces that focus more on people and less on busy internal roadways.”
An extensive consultation process with University community stakeholders and +VG Architects, the Ventin Group Ltd., resulted in the plan, a visioning document which identifies the civic spaces of campus life. It calls for seven activity and access zones.
Each of these ‘learning commons’ has distinct features designed to refresh campus community life through a variety of activities, said Paul Sapounzi, a partner in +VG.
“The new Campus Master Plan is designed to welcome the community to the campus to strengthen the relationship, bring people and ideas together, expand learning opportunities and create partnerships,” he said.
Zone 1 – Sunset Avenue Cul-de-Sac
Sunset Avenue will close just south of the service driveway for Chrysler Hall North. This allows a cul-de-sac to be created as a large drop-off point while maintaining access to the Education and Leddy parking lots. Retractable barriers will be installed at the entrance to the closed section of Sunset for emergency vehicles to access the campus. Estimated completion: 2014/15
Zone 2 – Fanchette Street Renewal
Located between the Toldo and the Education buildings, Fanchette Street will be transformed into a new pedestrian gateway to campus, creating a diagonal sightline to Chrysler Hall Tower. The existing street, curbs and sidewalks will be replaced with a grid pattern of paving, large plantings, groups of benches, new lighting and an expansive bicycle parking area. A drop-off point for traffic will be created on California. Estimated completion: 2016/17
Zone 3 – Community Commons Park
A current parking lot and four houses between the Odette and the Medical Education buildings will be replaced with a dynamic community park offering casual seating, a stage structure, ball courts, green space and new paving and lighting. This small urban park will be used for various staged events and will bring outdoor recreational activity to the centre of campus. A diagonal walkway will provide access from the centre of campus to the corner of Wyandotte and California. Estimated completion: 2014/15
Zone 4 – Odette School of Business and Wyandotte Landscaping
The area east of the Odette building is an extension of the Community Commons Park, creating a new link from the centre of campus to the Ed Lumley Centre for Engineering Innovation with seating areas at the corner of Wyandotte and California. Large trees will provide more shade on the front lawn of the Odette building. Estimated completion: 2013/14
Zone 5 – Sunset Avenue Closure and Renewal
The existing asphalt street, curb and sidewalks will be replaced with a level pedestrian route featuring new lighting, patterned paving, large trees and more landscaping against the buildings. Artful signage featuring UWindsor programs will line the new esplanade. Estimated completion: 2014/15
Zone 6 – River Commons Landscaping
Located between Lambton Tower, the Biology Building and Chrysler Hall South, the River Commons will be a signature space that celebrates our location on the Detroit River. The design features coloured paving, seating and landscaping that will create an abstract map of the river and its islands, the bridge and the campus location within the region. Patterns in the pavement represent the historical farm settlements that form the area’s first concession roads. A pergola structure to the south will visually align with the entrance to Essex Hall. Estimated completion: 2014/15
Zone 7 – Welcome Centre Commons
This conceptual design represents what could be envisioned for the corner of Wyandotte and Sunset once the School of Music moves to the downtown campus. The proposal will be dependant on the final design of the Welcome Centre, linking the central gateway to campus with the adjoining zones in the overall Campus Master Plan. Estimated completion: 2016/17
Find more information, including artist’s renderings of each of the envisioned zones, at uwindsor.ca/campus-master-plan.