HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Alabama A&M University officials scheduled a town hall meeting Thursday to announce the school’s master plan for future growth.
A committee of the Alabama A&M University Board of Trustees today approved a master plan for the school that called for construction of a $16 million student center and the demolition of more than a dozen campus facilities.
“Highest priorities” implementation of the plan, according to the Sizemore Group from Atlanta that developed and presented the master plan, would cost $27.3 million.
The Atlanta firm was charged with coming up with a plan to take enrollment from 5,000 to 6,600 students in the short-term.
Delilah Wynn-Brown of Wynn-Brown & Associates – who worked along with the Sizemore Group in a historic assessment and student engagement capacity – says oftentimes when analyzing a campus it’s very obvious you need a lot of new space to facilitate growth; not the case with A&M, she says.
“You really have enough space here to accommodate 6,600 fairly easily,” explains Wynn-Brown. “That doesn’t mean that every type of space is really adequate.”
The proposed 50,000 square-foot student center would be built on the site of Prentice Hall, which was among the facilities the Sizemore Group suggested be demolished.
Delilah Wynn-Brown explains in a an effort to improve the quality of space renovations need to take place in most of the buildings on campus including various upgrades in technology.
“There is a lot quite a bit of historic preservation that needs to take place,” says Wynn-Brown. “You have some jewels up on the hill that really need some TLC and then there are a couple of new building types needed as well.”
Voting to adopt the master plan does not equate to voting to implement all the suggestions. The plan essentially serves as a “road map” for the school.
The Sizemore Group suggested that much of the money needed to activate the plan could be driven by student fees. The impact of those fees would grow as the plan also called for enrollment to jump from the current 5,000 students to 6,600 students.
The firm also suggested additional on-campus housing atop the A&M hill to “re-energize” that space.
“And then long-term,” says Wynn-Brown, “there’s room for growth in various quads around the campus that would probably take the campus up to 10 or 12,000 very easily just in the core campus.
The Sizemore Group also suggested a number of facilities be demolished because they are “non-effective assets” at this point. Trustees have not made any decision on the removal of buildings on campus.
The buildings that should be removed, according to the Sizemore Group:
- Campus police
- Councill Training Center
- Gym Annex
- Johnson Building – credit union
- Old ROTC
- Old Security
- T.G. Parker
- T.G. Parker annex
Acceptance of the master plan is merely “step one,” Alabama A&M President Andrew Hugine said, and will kick off an intensive effort to prioritize and identify funding options.
The business and finance committee voted to adopt the master plan. The full board will vote to accept the plan at its Oct. 31 meeting in Birmingham.