Friday, November 14, 2008

Board approves updating UIS Campus Master Plan

The University of Illinois Board of Trustees approved updating the University of Illinois at Springfield Campus Master Plan Thursday to include land owned by the university outside the ring road. The update builds on the current plan, which includes only land within the ring road. UIS own 745 acres of land, about 230 acres of which are inside the ring road.

The Campus Master Plan is a "blueprint" for long-term growth and development of the physical campus. According to UIS Chancellor Richard Ringeisen, the update was needed as UIS anticipates the need for modest campus expansion, additional services, and potential development outside the ring road. "We are talking about such things as a campustown-type mall, which would be located across from the townhouses on the west side of 11th Street," he said. "It could perhaps include a café, coffee shop, grocery store, pharmacy, pizza parlor, ice cream store, and more."

Ringeisen emphasized, however, that campustown won't become a reality until there is a private developer who feels there is enough traffic, enough students, and enough potential for businesses to survive, and is willing to partner with UIS. He noted that there are several reasons why campustown would be a viable investment. "The number of students living on campus has grown. This fall we have more than 1,000 residential students. Wal-Mart is now only two miles away, and more development such as apartments and a small mall has taken place on Toronto Road. That means traffic has increased on the 11th Street corridor even though the extension to Stevenson Drive is not yet complete."

He said other possible uses of land outside the ring road include additional athletic fields, active senior housing, and a golf driving range.

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