Change is on the Way New Master Plan Set in Motion

March 01, 2010

Things are changing at Walla Walla University.

WWU's new campus master plan is the most comprehensive physical plan ever developed for the university. It will guide decisions about physical campus improvements, including building priorities, traffic flow, pedestrian safety and the general use of campus space. The plan was created using input from students, staff, faculty, alumni and community members.

"The committee did a superb job of working as a team to look at the long-term and campus-wide implications of every decision," says Jim Nestler, who served as chair of the Master Planning Committee. "Really, it all boils down to creating a campus core that better serves our students and the academic mission of WWU."

Although the plan is projecting some campus improvements as far as 20 years in the future, WWU is already making campus improvements.

The leading current project is a new home for the Wilma Hepker School of Social Work and Sociology. The school will move into renovated space in the Winter Educational Complex, recently vacated by the School of Business.

The School of Nursing on the Portland, Ore., campus recently renovated its library, set up new classroom dividers and added computer labs. They also plan to start construction soon on a classroom addition, allowing the program to grow by nearly 60 students.

The WWU School of Business is now operating from a new location in Bowers Hall. This move is one of the steps the school is taking to build visibility and enrollment for one of WWU's largest programs.

The Associated Students of WWU now have contemporary, more effective offices from which to conduct their business. This includes the student newspaper, the Collegian.

An expansion of The Express, WWU's convenience store, is doubling the size of the store's original 1,600 square feet. The new space will provide restrooms, additional customer seating and more food preparation areas.

In addition to building changes, plans are being made for a pedestrian-friendly College Avenue corridor and a revitalized campus core.

John McVay, WWU president, says, "Our goal is to accent the beauty of our campus and create a new, robust infrastructure for student services at the heart of it."