The Far Future of Campus Planning

As the final installment on the series detailing UW-Platteville’s campus planning, this story focuses on what the future of the university might see beyond our immediate needs in terms of campus plans and development.

Pushing into the years past the Ottensman Hall renovation, two main buildings on campus will need work to continue to function effectively.

The first is Karrmann Library. As the needs of a campus library have changed drastically since the 1960s, Karrmann Library is functionally out-of-date. Though this building has received some updates, the overall design requires a major overhaul to serve the purpose of a library and is likely to be next in line for renovations post-Ottensman.

Russell Hall is the second campus building that is in the pipeline for major updates. Despite being refurbished in 1999, its previous renovations have not proved entirely useful with some spaces being too large or too small in capacity, or being no longer relevant for education.

Secondary to the academic buildings are the renovations in the Department of Residence Life. Though student enrollment decreased, there is still high demand for on-campus housing. Despite COVID-19 taking a toll on enrollment, UW-Platteville’s head count has begun to rebound since a low in 2021.

Residence Life has six traditional dormitories that still remain in their original state from the 1960s, and require renovation.

The Markee Pioneer Student Center also is being examined. Despite its relatively recent construction, the needs of a student union have changed, resulting in some spaces being  inappropriate or obsolete.

Glenview Commons is of poor design and deteriorating condition to continue to serve as a dining facility. While the 2008 expansion, in which Greenwood Avenue Market is located, is serviceable, the rest of the building has a confusing layout, and space utilization is very poor, despite housing miscellaneous campus functions like the Re-Store and Pioneer Provisions.

Though there are no direct plans for Glenview, it is frequently critiqued for its poor functionality, and replacement of this building is likely to come as soon as it is viable.

But what might UW-Platteville look like if we look years into the future, beyond what is on the horizon?

Though there is not a specific timeline on renovations, documents and plans from the past give us a pretty good look into what campus might look like beyond the 2020s.

Regardless of how hybrid and virtual classes changed how we look at instruction in higher education, it is important that universities maintain high quality classroom and residential spaces.

The process of renovating buildings will still continue after the aforementioned projects. However, now this process can happen at a slower pace than previous updates as teaching spaces and mechanical systems in buildings have greater longevity.

The Center For The Arts, Doudna Hall and the older sections of Williams Fieldhouse are the last academic buildings to not see attention in recent years and are likely to rise to the top of the queue for work.

Furthermore, campus will need to begin projects in new construction once again. Using documents like the 2011 Master Plan and the succeeding feasibility studies, predictions can be made on what this may look like.

A new EMS building, structured as a Mechanical Engineering and Chemistry Hall, would be placed in south campus or on the west lawn. Another building would be dedicated to LAE needs and would possibly be placed on the east side of campus or in the re-opened greenspace north of Ottensman Hall.

Campus would also see the expansion in the number of residence halls, with locations being planned in the place of Glenview Commons or to fill out Circle Drive with a fourth dormitory building.

A formal successor to Glenview would come about to compliment these new residence halls. A proposed link between Wilgus and McGregor with communal areas and a café is also a potential addition mentioned in the plans, as too is an expansion to Williams Fieldhouse, including a larger entry building and expanded parking.

These renovations are uncertain, as UW-Platteville could see a boom in enrollment and necessitate fast action, as was the case in 1967 or 2011. This would result in massive expansion once again. Or post-secondary education could shift its needs entirely, with new ways of educating that obsolete the way schools are designed. This means for campus that plans are tentative, and what we have on paper often does not match what will be done.