Planning and Recommendations

Overview

The Vassar Campus Master Planning Committee (CMPC) undertook to develop a master plan in 2014, a process that involved a general study of space and facility usage, conversations with community members, gathering of survey data, and collaboration with a Trustee ad hoc Master Planning Committee. The CMPC also developed this plan in consultation with existing reports and proposals, such as the Building Condition Audit (2014), a proposed set of sustainable building standards, the Climate Action Plan (2016), and the Dober Lidsky Mathey (DLM) Campus Planning Studies (2015). The CMPC’s planning process included the five stage process illustrated and described below. Implementing the Master Plan will require a strategic focus and a collaborative approach; a dedicated team with oversight by the Dean of Strategic Planning will enable such an approach.

Stage 1: Data Collection and Definition - Fall 2014

During this preliminary phase of the project, DLM inspected and documented all campus facilities, grounds, and infrastructure, resulting in a comprehensive database for use in analysis, peer comparison testing, and development of planning scenarios and options.

Stage 2: Data Analysis - Winter 2014

Using the comprehensive Vassar campus facilities database, DLM identified and explored facilities needs, use patterns, and facility issues related to academic and residential programs and policies. DLM and CMPC also initiated discussions with community representatives to identify problems, opportunities, strategic needs, compliance issues related to facilities, etc. We also performed initial peer comparisons for use in discussion and priority building. Lastly, DLM prepared comparative data sets and some preliminary findings.

Stage 3: Community Conversations - Spring 2015

The DLM and CMPC teams shared their preliminary findings with one another from their data analysis. The preliminary findings of each group helped drive broad conversations with all Vassar campus constituencies including faculty, students, administrators, staff, alumni, and trustees. This phase of conversations focused on discussing the collected preliminary data and early findings, identified user needs, and built a comprehensive list of targets for examination and evaluation.

Stage 4: Design Scenarios for Evaluation - Summer/Fall 2015

DLM revised and supplemented needed database elements, prioritized planning targets, and built planning scenarios for analysis, testing, and discussion with the CMPC and Vassar community.

Stage 5: Community Assessment - Spring 2016

In Spring 2016, a survey was sent to 3,950 emails in the Vassar Community to discuss the findings presented in the DLM Campus Planning Studies and to propose potential building renovation scenarios. The survey garnered a 37% response rate, including 500 students, 158 faculty, 142 staff, 117 administrators, and 17 emeriti. Feedback was also solicited during an additional 4 general open meetings that included 125 participants. Using the survey data, the CMPC shared planning scenarios, trade-offs, strategies, and implementation implications and undertook community conversations with all Vassar constituencies including faculty, students, administrators, staff, alumni, and trustees. These conversations and assessments of scenarios focused on selecting strategic priorities, building use, project relationships and sequencing, concessions, and required resources for implementation. The CMPC reviewed all of the community input and began preparation of a final set of recommendations to be provided to the Board of Trustees and new college president in Spring 2017.