June 1, 2004
04-74

Charles Harmon Director of University Relations

VSU's Master Plan accepted by Georgia Board of Regents

The University System of Georgia Board of Regents has accepted Valdosta State University's updated 10-year Master Plan, which is a major part of VSU's strategic planning initiative. The new plan, which provides a road map for VSU's future development, assumes the current enrollment of 10,500 students will grow to 16,200 students by 2014. The enrollment increase is based upon a conservative estimated annual growth rate of 4 percent. VSU's actual enrollment growth rate over the last three years has been about 6 percent.

The Master Plan is the result of the efforts of a broad-based committee, composed of faculty, staff, students, alumni, the VSU Foundation Board, and key governmental and community leaders. The process received productive assistance from University System of Georgia personnel, the Atlanta-based firm of John Portman and Associates, Inc., and their local partner, Ingram Parris Group (IPG) Architects & Planners.

?Officials from USG and Portman visited the campus on numerous occasions and were instrumental in guiding VSU through this complex project,? said VSU President Dr. Ronald M. Zaccari in his recent President's Message to the campus. ?I deeply appreciate the long hours, dedication, and contributions to the Master Plan, and the ability to look beyond individual expectations and remain focused on the goals outlined in VSU's strategic planning efforts.?

Zaccari said the new plan also assumes VSU will be a pedestrian campus and establish cluster programs in physical sectors such as an arts and sciences core, and sectors for business, education, and fine arts. The plan also accommodates a proposed health care sector in partnership with the South Georgia Medical Center, which is located just across the street from VSU's Rea & Lillian Steele North Campus and the Harley Langdale, Jr. College of Business Administration. The health sciences sector will enable VSU to bring its health-related disciplines together in a single location and educate the growing number of students needed to fill positions in these critical or high demand areas.

?We are pleased to be building this plan on the existing uniqueness of VSU such as our location across from South Georgia Medical Center; strong relationships with city and county schools; and solid accredited programs,? Zaccari stated. He praised VSU faculty, staff, students, alumni and others for their roles on the Master Planning Committee.

?This new plan continues to respect the historical significance of the campus and our surrounding neighborhoods,? said Zaccari. ?It maintains the architectural integrity with the Spanish Mission style.?

Zaccari said the plan provides on-campus housing for 20-25 percent of the student population by 2014. This will help VSU move toward peer benchmarks for residential campuses.

?One of the first things we learned from those attending our initial strategic planning retreat in March of 2002 was that providing new student housing is the top priority of the planning process,? said Zaccari. ?Student housing has been our focus and I am very pleased, due to the work of so many, that we are beginning to show some tangible results.?

Zaccari said the Board of Regents has approved Phase I of VSU's initial $32.5 million housing project. The plan incorporates a diverse mix of on-campus housing options to include renovation of traditional style residence halls and new construction offering private suite-apartment style accommodations. Ground breaking for the first new 518-bed facility is scheduled to take place this month.

?I had the opportunity to discuss our 10-year plan with community leaders, legislators, city and county officials, and members of the local neighborhoods,? said Zaccari. ?The University System of Georgia staff was kept informed of the plan's progress and each transitional step was endorsed by open communication.?

For more information about VSU's Master Plan please visit the website at www.valdosta.edu/planning/master