Interactive website allows people to have input on master plan

April 14, 2015 By Käri Knutson

For the first time, people from around the world will be able to have a say in the University of Wisconsin–Madison’s Campus Master Plan.

A newly launched interactive website,, allows anyone to weigh in on what the future of campus will look like.

Which UW–Madison traditions are your favorite? What are the most distinctive physical characteristics of the UW–Madison campus? What is the biggest physical challenge that our campus will face over the next 10 years?

Those are just a few of the questions campus planners pose and give people the opportunity to answer.

“The new website will allow us to receive an unlimited amount of input from campus and our various stakeholder groups as compared with past master plan updates,” says Bill Elvey, associate vice chancellor for facilities planning and management.

The site will be continually updated throughout the process, and is designed to answer questions about the Campus Master Plan Update and encourage community and campus participation through its two-year development.

In addition to the website, two initial public meetings are scheduled for later this month:

April 28: 6 to 8 p.m. at Cooper Hall Auditorium in the School of Nursing

April 29: 5 to 7 p.m. Mechanical Engineering Room 1106

Campus master plans are required under Wisconsin State Statutes through the State Building Commission. Master plans are also required by UW System Board of Regents policies. UW–Madison is required under the City of Madison zoning code to have an approved campus master plan as part of its Campus-Institutional zoning.

“The 2015 Master Plan Update will provide us with a roadmap for future development of the campus infrastructure needed to support the continued thoughtful growth of the campus for the next 10 to 20 years,” Elvey says. “From creating a sense of place with our outdoor areas and landscapes, to providing reliable and efficient campus utilities and transportation systems, to ensuring the quality of water in Lake Mendota — all of these areas are critically important to supporting the university’s mission.”

The last master plan was unveiled in November 2005 and laid out ways to make the campus more livable, workable and sustainable by examining existing and proposed buildings, outdoor spaces, transportation and utilities. This time around, there will be less focus on building projects and more on landscape architecture and making outdoor spaces more usable.

The 2015 Campus Master Plan update process will also confirm and update planning principles, goals and recommendations from the 2005 plan, update the long-range transportation plan and utilities master plan, and develop landscape and stormwater master plans.

The new plan should be completed in fall 2016. It will provide flexibility to adapt to ongoing changes and will look 20 years into the future to determine the appropriate level of growth and redevelopment for the campus.

Last time, the university conducted more than 200 meetings with hundreds of members of the public and interested groups as the plan evolved.

“The more input and feedback that we can get during the Master Plan Update process, the higher quality we expect that the final result will be,” Elvey says. “Updating a campus master plan is definitely a participatory sport.”