Webster University Completes Comprehensive Master Plan

A rendering of campus south of Big Bend in the master plan.The plan establishes a 15- to 20-year vision to transform the campus into a vibrant, well-connected and student-oriented setting for learning, scholarship and service.

ST. LOUIS, Sept. 21, 2012 — Webster University released its comprehensive Webster Groves campus master plan today. The plan builds on feedback from the City of Webster Groves and community members dating back to 2010. Developed over the past year with the internationally known planning and urban design firm Sasaki & Associates, the plan establishes a 15- to 20-year vision that will transform the Webster Groves campus into a vibrant, well-connected and student-oriented setting for learning, scholarship and service.

“Webster University in Webster Groves will celebrate its centennial in 2015 and is the symbolic and operational ‘heart' of the University with campus locations around the world,” said Beth Stroble, president. “The master plan defines a transformational vision for our future growth that can be shaped and molded and brought to life by the creative insight of our students, faculty, staff, trustees, alumni and friends of the university. We have chosen our path to global academic excellence and this master plan helps us realize that.”

Julian Schuster, provost, senior vice president and chief operating officer, said the master plan looks to the future while maintaining historic connections. “The final plan provides an exciting roadmap for the campus that is rooted in the academic, student life and global mission of the institution,” he said. “We intentionally set out to create innovative approaches to sustainable and sensitive growth that reinforces a strong landscape, sense of place and community, and provides a stronger visual identity for the campus.”

The planning process, which began in September 2011, consisted of four phases: assessment, exploration, master plan development and community engagement. Throughout the open and collaborative planning process, the university engaged with students, faculty, staff, alumni, trustees and community members to garner suggestions and input as possible alternative concepts were developed. Refinements were made based on feedback from all constituent groups, resulting in the final master plan. The final plan is available on the University's website.

“We wanted this to be a collaborative process,” said Stroble. “Our communities – both inside Webster University and the City of Webster Groves – care deeply about maintaining the historical character of our buildings and our neighborhoods. It was important to us to listen to them.”

The University's goal to grow its traditional, undergraduate population to 5,000 students by 2020 is a key driver of the master plan. Major elements include:

  • Creating a new quad north of the Loretto-Hilton Center and flanked by a new 80,000-square-foot Interdisciplinary Sciences Building which will include new laboratory space, as well as general classrooms and study space to enhance the academic environment
  • Developing a housing cluster adding 1,000 beds, to be built as needed, at the south edge of campus to house the growing number of undergraduate resident students
  • Building a new 10,000-square-foot on-campus recreation facility to enhance campus life activities
  • Building a new 65,000-square-foot student center and dining facility to ensure students have the amenities expected of a truly global university
  • Creating a new arts center totaling approximately 80,000 square feet that co-locates fine and performing arts in a renovated and expanded University Center
  • The addition of Pearson House back into the plan based on extensive feedback from constituent groups. Faculty, in particular, did not want to lose this historic building
  • Parking enhancements, including adding 425 spaces by expanding the existing garage, creating a new surface lot and creating spaces beneath the new recreation facility
  • Proposals of uses of properties north of East Lockwood Avenue that maintain the character of surrounding neighborhoods and preserve green space

“This plan addresses our need for cross-functionality across academic and administrative departments within the campus,” said Schuster. “It also provides the vision for cross-collaboration across geographic locations so that Webster students, faculty and staff can work together across traditional boundaries.”

With its home campus in St. Louis, Webster University (www.webster.edu) is the only Tier 1, private, non-profit U.S.-based university providing a network of international residential campuses. Founded in 1915, Webster University's campus network today includes metropolitan, military and corporate locations around the world, as well as traditional residential campuses in Asia, Europe and North America. The university is committed to delivering high-quality learning experiences that transform students for global citizenship and individual excellence.

Master Plan Committee Members

  • Julian Schuster, Provost, Senior Vice President & Chief Operating Officer, and Chair of the Master Plan Committee
  • Kris Knapstein, President, Alumni Association and Trustee
  • Greg Gunderson, Vice President & Chief Financial Officer
  • Paul Carney, Vice President of Enrollment Management & Student Affairs
  • Wm. Kenneth Freeman, Vice President of Information Technology
  • Barbara O'Malley, Associate Vice President & Chief Communications Officer
  • Dan Viele, Associate Vice President & Online Learning Director
  • Betsy Schmutz, Associate Vice President & Chair, Human Resources
  • Barb Ehnes, Director of Community and Public Relations
  • Bill Barrett, Director of the May Gallery
  • Ralph Olliges, Associate Professor/Chair, President of the Faculty Senate
  • Stephanie Schroeder, Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Biological Sciences
  • Michelle Loyet, former Chair, Webster Staff Alliance
  • Lauren Meyer, Graduate Student
  • Loren Douglass, Undergraduate Student
  • Charles Downs, Chamber of Commerce
  • Nancy Klepper, Neighborhood Advisory Board
  • Oren Yagil, Special Assistant to the President
  • Steve Strang, Senior Project Manager
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