Why did the University of Delaware initiate a capacity study?
The Newark Campus Capacity Study follows from our Path to Prominence strategic plan and supports the guiding principles and milestones that make up that plan. The physical capacity of the campus-its setting, buildings and infrastructure-is the foundation for other planning we do in support of our mission. Knowing our physical capacity will help us determine what path our mission-based academic planning will take.
The capacity study will serve as a guide to protect and enhance the things we value about the University, to ensure that our physical plan reflects and supports our mission and our culture, and to use our future development to solve problems and address challenges on campus.
Our strategic plan lays out six milestones: a diverse and stimulating undergraduate academic environment; a premier research and graduate university; excellence in professional education; an initiative for the planet; a global initiative; and an engaged university. The milestones result in such major focus areas as growth in research; sustainable and ecological development; local, national and international partnership; and student and faculty engagement and development. All these initiatives will require physical changes, including infrastructure upgrades, strategic use of height and density for future building development and collaborative locations for the intellectual and social exchange of ideas.
To prepare for those kinds of changes and to integrate various initiatives into the fabric of the campus, it is essential to understand the current campus configuration, limitations and capacities. This Capacity Plan takes a realistic and comprehensive look at those issues, through the expertise of Ayers Saint Gross, architects and planners from Baltimore who specialize in campus planning. The study looks at land holdings, transportation, the natural environment, building and infrastructure capacities, land planning issues and regulatory constraints.
We recognize that the Newark campus-like all campuses-will change even if the number of students remains the same. It will change even if growth and development are not planned. So, in order to be the best and most prudent caretakers we can, we need to plan ways we can grow and change without creating sprawl, without disrupting established areas, while providing the physical basis for continued progress on our path to prominence. We need to develop a guide for future growth so that it doesn't occur in an arbitrary or haphazard fashion.