March 1, 2006
06-037

Charles Harmon Director of University Relations, Sementha Mathews Manager of Public Information and Media Relations

Valdosta State University contracts with Lord, Aeck & Sargentfor Campus Historic Preservation Plan

The University System of Georgia (USG) and Valdosta State University has awarded the planning and architectural firm of Lord, Aeck & Sargent with the contract to complete its first Campus Historic Preservation Plan (CHPP).

In July 2005, VSU President Ronald M. Zaccari identified the need to form the Historic Preservation Planning Committee (HPPC), a group which includes representation from the local neighborhood associations, Valdosta City Council, Lowndes County Historical Society, South Georgia Regional Development Center, and University administrators. The newly formed committee began the process of developing the CHPP to optimize the use of University land and facilities appropriately in the context of the surrounding neighborhood.

"As VSU continues to expand, we remain aware of the historical districts that surround the campus," Zaccari said. "While some buildings are defined as national and others are local historic landmarks, VSU is committed to developing a plan that will allow the University to utilize currently owned property, as well as future sites, while preserving the historic community."

To facilitate the planning process, the USG solicited proposals from three highly qualified firms. Each of the three firms toured the campus and community and later gave a presentation to the committee. After careful consideration, the firm of Lord, Aeck & Sargent was selected to complete the historic preservation plan.

On Tuesday, February 28, HPPC members met with representatives from Lord, Aeck & Sargent to hear the firm's plans to analyze the University's present use of its property and future needs for expansion, while preserving the historic community.

"We are honored to work with Valdosta State University as they plan for their future, while respecting their history and that of the surrounding neighborhoods. Lord, Aeck, and Sargent worked with VSU several years ago to design the Science Building and it is a genuine pleasure to continue that valued relationship," said Susan Turner, Director of Historic Preservation Studio with Lord, Aeck, and Sargent.

Lord, Aeck & Sargent, is a full-service architectural firm with a long-standing reputation for providing exceptional planning and design to college and university campuses across the nation. The firm's major role will be identifying how VSU properties best fit within the historic neighborhoods and how the University can continue to provide a functional, aesthetic, and compatible existence with current and future facilities.

The first phase of the plan identifies those facilities/properties within referenced districts that meet specific definitions and principles of historic preservation. The second phase includes a much-needed analysis of VSU's parking demands, parking management issues and sector planning of VSU's campus core. The study will consider factors such as the customer type, parking supply, time demands, fees and permits, and the University's transit system. Due to the scarcity and value of land surrounding VSU, the CHPP is expected to contain recommendations for possible locations and configuration of a new multi-level parking facility.

Parking issues have been a major concern for VSU and the surrounding neighborhoods, particularly neighborhoods east of Patterson Street. University officials have been working closely with the City of Valdosta and are confident that the CHPP will offer long-term solutions to this critical issue.

"The time has come to face the realization that VSU cannot and will not construct additional surface parking lots," Zaccari said. "Land is too scarce and valuable for single level parking. It's no longer a question of should VSU construct a multi-level parking facility, but what type of facility and where."