February 2, 2004 Vol. VIII, No. 9

Northridge Master Plan Review Looks Ahead 30 Years

Enrollment Management Will Play Major Role in Planning University's Future

Meeting a requirement of the California State University Board of Trustees that each CSU campus review its physical master plan every five years, Cal State Northridge now is in the initial stages of reviewing its plan. The university's last such review took place in 1998.

Vice President for Administration and Finance Mo Qayoumi said the master plan review will examine all the university's physical needs, including academic facilities, housing, parking, green fields, and food and retail services, as well as the utilities infrastructure to support them during the next 30 years.

"The purpose of reviewing a master plan is to be prepared for the future," said the vice president. "This should be viewed as preparation and facilities readiness for potential opportunities, rather than as planning for specific goals to be achieved. The review will look at possibilities over the next 30 years and evaluate what changes to the physical plant are necessary to ensure readiness."

Including about a year for the completion of an Environmental Impact Report (EIR), the entire master plan review process is expected to take approximately 18 months.

Enrollment management is seen as a key issue in the master plan review for the Northridge campus, whose enrollment some 30 years ago was capped at 25,000 full-time equivalent students (FTES). In May 2003, however, the CSU trustees authorized campuses at or near the historic ceiling of 25,000 FTES to develop master plan revisions increasing those ceilings.

"Raising the enrollment cap—should we decide to do so—would not necessarily mean that the university would grow to the new ceiling, but that we would be prepared to do so if that option were considered to be in the best interests of the university's mission," said President Jolene Koester. "Growth would likely be determined by balancing access and quality."

The master plan review's consultative process involves input from students, faculty and staff, alumni, neighbors, volunteers, board members, legislators, government agencies and others. Numerous interviews, public workshops and hearings, presentations to stakeholders and periods of public review and comment also are involved, and regular progress updates will keep the university community informed.

Vice President Qayoumi said a representative master plan committee is being formed to lead the master plan review effort. For the rest of 2004, the committee will review the master plan goal, interview architectural firms, select a consultant to assist in the preparation of a preliminary master plan document with alternatives, conduct feasibility studies and cost estimates for major elements, and hold workshops with the campus community.

From fall 2004 through spring 2005, an environmental impact study will be conducted and public hearings will be held on the Environmental Impact Report (EIR). In fall 2005, the master plan will be presented to the CSU trustees for approval.

"The university will ensure minimal impact on the surrounding community," said Qayoumi. "The completion of an EIR and mitigation measures will address that. One advantage this university has is its 353 acres. Some CSU campuses have comparable enrollments with considerably less acreage."

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