Public Forum to Focus on Concepts for Development of 3 UB Campuses

Workshops designed to foster discussion with, gather feedback from, participants

By Arthur Page

Release Date: April 16, 2008

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Members of the community, along with University at Buffalo faculty, staff and students, will have an opportunity to provide feedback on specific concepts for future development of the university's North, South and Downtown campuses at a day-long forum to be held on April 22.

The public forum in the Center for the Arts on the North (Amherst) Campus will be the second in a series of four being conducted as part of the ongoing creation of the comprehensive physical plan being developed in conjunction with the university's plans to grow by 40 percent by the year 2020. The plan is scheduled to be completed a year from now.

James A. "Beau" Willis, executive vice president for university support services, said the university is committed to engaging and listening to members of its internal and external communities as it continues to build a truly dynamic comprehensive physical plan.

In conjunction with the UB 2020 strategic plan, the goal is to create a leading 21st-century public research university with three distinctive campus environments tailored to their respective suburban, urban and downtown settings, better connecting them with one another and integrating them with their surrounding neighborhoods.

At the April 22 forum, Willis noted, the Building UB team will present major concepts and scenarios being considered for each of UB's three campuses with the goal of engaging participants in discussion and obtaining their feedback. Transportation and environment considerations also will be included in each of five workshops designed for specific constituent groups.

The workshop schedule is: 8-9:30 a.m. for placemaking professionals such as planners, architects, engineers and related professionals; 10-11:30 a.m. for UB staff members; noon to 1:30 p.m. for UB students; 2-3:30 p.m. for UB faculty; and 4-5:30 p.m. for community-at-large, including alumni, UB neighbors and the general public. Participants are requested to attend the specific workshop for the group in which they are a member.

A "capstone session" from 6-7 p.m. will include a welcome from UB President John B. Simpson, and a presentation summarizing input received at the day's workshops that will include questions from the audience. The session will be led by Robert G. Shibley, professor and director of the Urban Design Project in the School of Architecture and Planning, who, as senior advisor to Simpson, is overseeing UB's ongoing master-planning process, and Frederick A. Bland, managing partner with Beyer Blinder Belle Architects & Planners, the internationally known team chosen to work with the "Building UB" team and lead development of the plan.

The capstone session will be followed by a reception to celebrate the progress on, and potential of, UB's comprehensive physical plan.

To attend a workshop and the capstone session/celebration, please RSVP at 645-3705, ext. 223, or at www.buffalo.edu/yourub.

The creation of UB's comprehensive physical plan is a long-term process that began about a year ago and will be completed a year from now.

Some 600 individuals attended the first public forum on the development of UB's comprehensive physical plan held in December in the UB Downtown Gateway, the former M. Wile Building. A third forum -- at which a draft plan will be presented -- will be held on Nov. 19 on the South (Main Street) Campus. The final forum, focusing on specifics of the final plan and its implementation, is scheduled for April 22, 2009.