Current and Future Projects Will Transform the Vanderbilt Campus Over the Coming Years
At its February meeting, USAC welcomed Mike Perez, Associate Vice Chancellor and Chief Facilities Officer, who gave the council an overview of the FutureVU initiative. Perez spoke about current projects as well as future areas of focus, and provided a vision of what our campus may look like in 2023.
The FutureVU initiative began in the fall of 2015 with comprehensive information gathering, community focus groups, qualitative research and concept development. It has since evolved into a collaborative effort involving several working groups and advisory committees that include faculty, staff, students and third-party contractors.
The E. Bronson Ingram Residential College, adjacent to Alumni and Kirkland Halls, will be the first of four new multi-purpose residential college facilities and will open by fall of this year. The new structure will feature living spaces, a communal dining hall, a great room, laundry, study rooms and four courtyards for undergraduate students and a faculty director. Construction crews recently broke ground for the second residential college on the corner of West End Avenue and 24th Avenue South. This college will feature similar amenities to the E. Bronson Ingram College, as well as a 20-story tower that includes residences for visiting scholars on the upper floors. Construction on the third and fourth colleges will begin in late 2019 and will replace the existing Carmichael Towers. All four colleges are expected to be completed by summer of 2023.
School of Nursing Expansion
A new five-floor structure for the School of Nursing will house technologically advanced classrooms, conference and seminar rooms, student services offices, faculty offices and a state-of-the-art simulation teaching lab. This expansion will also be the first WELL certified building on the Vanderbilt campus, as well as in Nashville.
Divinity School Renovation and Expansion
Highlights of a new space for the Divinity School include an easily accessible and distinguishable main entrance; a multipurpose space for worship, meetings and musical events; new classrooms equipped with smart technology; an outdoor terrace for solitary reflection, small group gatherings and larger events; and additional spaces for group meetings. Along with the School of Nursing expansion and Divinity School renovation and expansion, the 21st Avenue edge of campus will be enhanced with the addition of greenspace making it a more pedestrian focused area.
West End Neighborhood Site Beautification
During the same time that the new residential colleges are being built, several streets and parking lots will be replaced with green spaces and walking paths. This will take place in the area that is framed by West End Avenue, 24th Avenue South and 21st Avenue South. One of the goals is to unite this part of campus with its counterpart to the Northeast and to make it more pedestrian-friendly.
Perez expressed that an overarching goal of the FutureVU initiative is to enhance and connect the various campus neighborhoods so that they are “more reflective of our vision and guiding principles,” consistent with sustainability, inclusion, equity, character and identity.
Future Areas of Focus
Additional Construction and Renovation
The university has started to plan for the future of the Peabody, Owen, Humanities and Science & Engineering facilities. Peabody and Owen are both expected to get new additions as soon as funding is secured. Strategies are being developed for Humanities and Science & Engineering that will evaluate their current facilities and help determine a path for moving forward.
Graduate and Professional Student Housing
The rising cost of Nashville real estate has made it harder for graduate and professional students to live near campus. In response to this, a working group has engaged a third-party firm to assist with a strategy for building housing on 21st Avenue South, close to the current Center Building.
Perez concluded by acknowledging that several of these initiatives will create some logistical challenges in terms of transportation and mobility. To address these challenges, six transportation working groups involving more than 90 faculty, staff and students have prepared recommendations on the following topics:
- MTA and RTA bus and train adjustments to better service Vanderbilt
- Vanderbilt shuttle adjustments
- Expansion of Uber and Lyft opportunities on campus
- Expansion of on-campus biking infrastructure and bike programs
- Potential alternative work arrangements
- Vanpools, carpools and other partnerships
The university is now in the process of taking these recommendations, along with the FutureVU goals and recommendations from Vanderbilt Student Government, and developing a comprehensive mobility and transportation strategy.