Carleton master plan gets updated to reflect the future

Carleton has established a steering committee to update the university’s master plan so the expected future growth and expanding needs on campus are met in the coming years.

It’s expected that the building boom that started at Carleton in the late 1990s is not about to end and, as a result, the university has embarked on giving a facelift to the existing master plan, developed in 2003-04. The goal is to develop a new, clear vision for Carleton’s future physical image.

“We expect construction to continue at Carleton,” says Duncan Watt, steering committee chair and vice-president (Finance and Administration).

“It’s likely Carleton will continue to grow in terms of the size of its student body and our physical infrastructure will likely need to grow as well. It’s helpful to have a coherent planning process to guide the overall development of our campus to best meet the needs of the Carleton community.”

The university’s first master plan was introduced in the mid-1950s and was designed to accommodate a maximum of 6,000 students over the next half century. But tremendous growth in the 1960s pushed enrolment to more than 8,000 full time students by 1973, and another expansion period in the early ‘90s increased numbers to nearly 14,000.

Today, more than 24,000 students (about 19,000 full time) pursue their post-secondary education on Carleton’s 62 hectares. To address ongoing needs, campus master plans have been renewed approximately every five years since 1998.

“Over the last 10 years, we have made dramatic changes to the campus,” adds Darryl Boyce, assistant vice-president (Facilities Management and Planning). “At least every five years we need to look at projected growth to plan adequately. If the campus is going to continue to grow by student numbers and research endeavours, we are going to have to look at our potential building sites.”

The 2004 master plan encouraged building and renewing in a way that is land, energy, resource and waste efficient, and recommended focusing on the campus setting between the Rideau River and Rideau Canal as a green sanctuary, buffered from the surrounding urban area.

“We will probably mandate that all buildings be built to a green standard,” says Watt.

“We will certainly talk about the sustainability of the campus going forward.”

A key recommendation in the 2004 plan was to re-establish the campus as a pedestrian place. North Library Road has since been reconfigured to reduce traffic flow and provide a pedestrian route. Bus stops on campus were also re-located and pathways redesigned with new lighting for safer access.

Meanwhile, Watt stresses the importance of having a framework in the form of a master plan to guide the physical development of the campus in a “thorough and systematic way.”

“The biggest change for Carleton now is we are running out of space in the heart of our campus. We will likely be forced to build the next building on top of an existing parking lot.”

The questions Carleton is examining under the current master plan review process, according to Boyce, are how to expand capacity without destroying the natural environment, how to continue developing the campus in a sustainable manner, and how to maintain a pedestrian-friendly campus.

Other key issues are parking and development around the Rideau River.

“We have turned our back on the Rideau River,” notes Boyce. “Our new interdisciplinary academic building at the river site will be our first to sit on the river bank.”

The river site building, which will house journalism and public administration students, the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs and the Institute of European, Russian and Eurasian Studies, is slated for completion in 2011. It is one of two buildings which make up the $52 million Waterfront Project.

The master plan steering committee, which will examine issues like how to accommodate new academic programs, housing and parking, expects to present its final plan by early 2010.

Visit the master plan website at: for ongoing updates.

This entry was written by Susan Hickman and posted in the issue. Tags applied to this article are: . Leave a comment, bookmark the permalink or share the following short URL for this article via social media:

Susan Hickman

By Susan Hickman

For nearly four decades, journalist Susan Hickman has written about every imaginable subject for sundry newspapers and magazines in Canada and abroad, as well as for CBC TV and CBC Radio. She has also managed various publications, including academic newspapers and technology magazines, and was recently commissioned to write a guide for foreign missions serving in Canada. Currently, she is working on a couple of personal memoirs.

Be a part of the Carleton Now community

Carleton Now strives to be an inclusive, relevant and informative publication focused on building and fostering an engaged campus community. You can be a part of our community by: sharing or voting for this article (below), joining in the conversation, or by sending a submission/letter to the editor.

Comments are closed.

Current issue