Three preliminary projects are necessary to lay the groundwork for the major priorities established by the Campus Master Plan. These projects will impact and/or facilitate subsequent projects and will provide information necessary for the College to undertake next steps in the Plan. Key objectives of the preliminary projects include: developing an energy master plan to ensure that subsequent projects align with and support the goals of the College's Climate Action Plan, creating swing space in central campus, and gaining a detailed knowledge of specific programmatic needs and architectural constraints related to each project included in the Plan.
An Energy Master Plan: Future Needs for Campus Heating and Cooling
The central heating plant (CHP) houses the existing heating technology for the campus and consumes most of the fuel used to keep our facilities warm. The College's chiller plant provides chilled water throughout the campus to keep things cool. These facilities, along with the distribution networks they rely upon, need to be reviewed and, if necessary, improved upon to meet our energy distribution needs over the next decades and to complete the Vassar Climate Action Plan (see Appendix). Projects that are undertaken as part of the Campus Master Plan must incorporate our best thinking about the future of the central heating and chiller plants and include newer approaches to heating and cooling on campus, such as geothermal heat pump technology, when appropriate. Therefore, an Energy Master Plan for the College must be developed before other projects are undertaken. Developing an Energy Master Plan will require the College to engage an engineering firm to assist with assessing our current energy usage and create a long term plan that outlines future concepts for heating and cooling college facilities in a manner that is consistent with the Vassar Climate Action plan.
Creating Central Swing Space and a Multidisciplinary Commons
In order to undertake the major projects included in the Master Plan, several preliminary steps are necessary that will create swing space in central campus and ensure efficient execution of the Plan. Back of house functions within Computing and Information Services (CIS), which currently occupy prime real estate in the center of campus, will be moved to the periphery of campus which will, in turn, open up the building in which CIS is currently housed for the establishment of a Multidisciplinary Commons. Old Laundry Building, the temporary home for the Multidisciplinary Programs since the summer of 2013, will revert to swing space that will serve a critical role in subsequent phases of the Master Plan. CIS will be relocated near Facilities Operations together with an expanded warehouse that will provide a staging area for renovations as well as a storage site for components, furniture, equipment, and materials for the College. The need for a climate-controlled warehouse was made readily apparent during the science project when we had to lease warehouse space off campus and absorb the costs of renting space and trucking material and other items to and from the rental warehouse. In light of the time that will be spent completing the master plan, this type of relatively inexpensive building will pay for itself over time and provide needed flexibility for the logistical imperatives of renovating our existing facilities as well as critical storage space at the College for the long term.
Undertake Architectural and Planning Studies
An essential next step in the Master Planning process is the commissioning of architectural and planning studies for each of the buildings in the Master Plan. These studies will provide the College with detailed information required to better understand the proposed programmatic use of each building and the appropriate allocation of space for specific functional needs, as well as physical constraints imposed by existing sites, infrastructure and building conditions. The architectural designs will also enable new costing studies that will provide more detailed and accurate information than preliminary estimates based on generic prices and estimated square footage.